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Unformatted text preview: the data to arrive from the disk. Another example is the sleep system call, which is an explicit request to put the calling process to sleep. In general, even if a system call does not block, the kernel can decide to perform a context switch rather than return control to the calling process. A context switch can also occur as a result of an interrupt. For example, all systems have some mechanism for generating periodic timer interrupts, typically every 1 ms or 10 ms. Each time a timer interrupt occurs, the kernel can decide that the current process has run long enough and switch to a new process. Figure 8.12 shows an example of context switching between a pair of processes A and B. In this example, initially process A is running in user mode until it traps to the kernel by executing a read system call. The trap handler in the kernel requests a DMA transfer from the disk controller and arranges for the disk to interrupt the processor after the disk controller has finished transferring the data from disk to memory. The disk will take a relatively long time to fetch the data...
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