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Kristi Castro
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Deadlock detection, deadlock prevention and deadlock avoidance are the main methods for handling deadlocks. Details about these are given as follows:

Deadlock Detection

Deadlock can be detected by the resource scheduler as it keeps track of all the resources that are allocated to different processes. After a deadlock is detected, it can be handed using the given methods:

  1. All the processes that are involved in the deadlock are terminated. This approach is not that useful as all the progress made by the processes is destroyed.
  2. Resources can be preempted from some processes and given to others until the deadlock situation is resolved.

Deadlock Prevention

It is important to prevent a deadlock before it can occur. So, the system checks each transaction before it is executed to make sure it does not lead to deadlock. If there is even a slight possibility that a transaction may lead to deadlock, it is never allowed to execute.

Some deadlock prevention schemes that use timestamps in order to make sure that a deadlock does not occur are given as follows:

  • Wait - Die Scheme
  • In the wait - die scheme, if a transaction T1 requests for a resource that is held by transaction T2, one of the following two scenarios may occur:

    • TS(T1) < TS(T2) - If T1 is older than T2 i.e T1 came in the system earlier than T2, then it is allowed to wait for the resource which will be free when T2 has completed its execution.
    • TS(T1) > TS(T2) - If T1 is younger than T2 i.e T1 came in the system after T2, then T1 is killed. It is restarted later with the same timestamp.
  • Wound - Wait Scheme
  • In the wound - wait scheme, if a transaction T1 requests for a resource that is held by transaction T2, one of the following two possibilities may occur:

    • TS(T1) < TS(T2) - If T1 is older than T2 i.e T1 came in the system earlier than T2, then it is allowed to roll back T2 or wound T2. Then T1 takes the resource and completes its execution. T2 is later restarted with the same timestamp.
    • TS(T1) > TS(T2) - If T1 is younger than T2 i.e T1 came in the system after T2, then it is allowed to wait for the resource which will be free when T2 has completed its execution.

Deadlock Avoidance

It is better to avoid a deadlock rather than take measures after the deadlock has occurred. The wait for graph can be used for deadlock avoidance. This is however only useful for smaller databases as it can get quite complex in larger databases.

Wait for graph

The wait for graph shows the relationship between the resources and transactions. If a transaction requests a resource or if it already holds a resource, it is visible as an edge on the wait for graph. If the wait for graph contains a cycle, then there may be a deadlock in the system, otherwise not.

Wait for graph

Ostrich Algorithm

The ostrich algorithm means that the deadlock is simply ignored and it is assumed that it will never occur. This is done because in some systems the cost of handling the deadlock is much higher than simply ignoring it as it occurs very rarely. So, it is simply assumed that the deadlock will never occur and the system is rebooted if it occurs by any chance.

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