Monitors vs Semaphores

Computer ScienceMCAOperating System

Monitors and semaphores are used for process synchronization and allow processes to access the shared resources using mutual exclusion. However, monitors and semaphores contain many differences. Details about both of these are given as follows −

Monitors

Monitors are a synchronization construct that were created to overcome the problems caused by semaphores such as timing errors.

Monitors are abstract data types and contain shared data variables and procedures. The shared data variables cannot be directly accessed by a process and procedures are required to allow a single process to access the shared data variables at a time.

This is demonstrated as follows:

monitor monitorName
{
   data variables;

   Procedure P1(....)
   {

   }

   Procedure P2(....)
   {

   }

   Procedure Pn(....)
   {

   }

   Initialization Code(....)
   {

   }
}

Only one process can be active in a monitor at a time. Other processes that need to access the shared variables in a monitor have to line up in a queue and are only provided access when the previous process release the shared variables.

Semaphores

A semaphore is a signalling mechanism and a thread that is waiting on a semaphore can be signalled by another thread. This is different than a mutex as the mutex can be signalled only by the thread that called the wait function.

A semaphore uses two atomic operations, wait and signal for process synchronization.

The wait operation decrements the value of its argument S, if it is positive. If S is negative or zero, then no operation is performed.

wait(S)
{
   while (S<=0);

   S--;
}

The signal operation increments the value of its argument S.

signal(S)
{
   S++;
}

There are mainly two types of semaphores i.e. counting semaphores and binary semaphores.

Counting Semaphores are integer value semaphores and have an unrestricted value domain. These semaphores are used to coordinate the resource access, where the semaphore count is the number of available resources.

The binary semaphores are like counting semaphores but their value is restricted to 0 and 1. The wait operation only works when the semaphore is 1 and the signal operation succeeds when semaphore is 0.

raja
Published on 10-Oct-2018 20:08:47
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