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Operating Systems Principles for Data Flow Networks

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131334D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 17 page(s) / 59K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Peter J. Penning: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

[Figure containing following caption omitted: A deep look at contemporary operating systems finds data flow principles of value to computer networks large and small.] L 1970 the term computer network conjured up images of computing centers in different cities interconnected with telephone lines. By 1975 the prospect of inexpensive memory and processing showed that the next generation of operating systems at individual computing centers would be concerned much less with memory allocation and processor scheduling; thus the term computer network also began to conjure up images of computing centers internally organized as networks of specialpurpose processors. By 1980 the technology of large-scale integration will permit sophisticated computers to be configured as large arrays of very simple processing elements. The term computer network will then conjure up images of ganged microcomputers working concurrently on many portions of a single computation.

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This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Operating Systems Principles for Data Flow Networks

Peter J. Penning

Purdue University

(Image Omitted: A deep look at contemporary operating systems finds data flow principles of value to computer networks large and small.)

L 1970 the term computer network conjured up images of computing centers in different cities interconnected with telephone lines. By 1975 the prospect of inexpensive memory and processing showed that the next generation of operating systems at individual computing centers would be concerned much less with memory allocation and processor scheduling; thus the term computer network also began to conjure up images of computing centers internally organized as networks of specialpurpose processors. By 1980 the technology of large-scale integration will permit sophisticated computers to be configured as large arrays of very simple processing elements. The term computer network will then conjure up images of ganged microcomputers working concurrently on many portions of a single computation.

The important components of any network of computers are nodes and data links. The nodes are processing elements (service centers), each with its own private (dedicated) memory and processor units. The data links are communications channels that permit messages to be sent among the nodes. Data links usually have a queue at the receiver to store messages until the receiver is ready to process them. Because each node has its own resources, the only possibility of interaction among nodes is through the data links.

A network in which the nodes are activated by the arrival of messages (specifying tasks) is called a data flow network. A node is initially in an "idle" state. As soon as it receives a set of messages sufficient to specify a task, it becomes "active" and begins work on that task. It may accept yet further tasks while active. It will transmit messages as it completes tasks, and it will return to the idle state when there are no more tasks.

The concept of a data flow network is at least as old as electronic computing. It is the basis of the "neuron net" model of finite state automata studied by John von Neumann and others in the 1940's and 1950's, and of the "Petri Net" model of concurrent systems, introduced by Carl Adam Petri in the early 1960's. It is the subject of the "program schema" model of computation studied by theoreticians in the late 1960's. It appeared in the form of ready-acknowledge signalling among hardware modules in the Illiac II computer at the University of Illinois in the late 1950's an...