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Understanding the Linux Kernel, 3rd Edition by Marco Cesati, Daniel P. Bovet

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Data Structures Used by the Scheduler

Recall from the section "Identifying a Process" in Chapter 3 that the process list links all process descriptors, while the runqueue lists link the process descriptors of all runnable processes—that is, of those in a TASK_RUNNING state—except the swapper process (idle process).

The runqueue Data Structure

The runqueue data structure is the most important data structure of the Linux 2.6 scheduler. Each CPU in the system has its own runqueue; all runqueue structures are stored in the runqueues per-CPU variable (see the section "Per-CPU Variables" in Chapter 5). The this_rq( ) macro yields the address of the runqueue of the local CPU, while the cpu_rq(n) macro yields the address of the runqueue of the CPU having index n.

Table 7-4 lists the fields included in the runqueue data structure; we will discuss most of them in the following sections of the chapter.

Table 7-4. The fields of the runqueue structure

Type

Name

Description

spinlock_t

lock

Spin lock protecting the lists of processes

unsigned long

nr_running

Number of runnable processes in the runqueue lists

unsigned long

cpu_load

CPU load factor based on the average number of processes in the runqueue

unsigned long

nr_switches

Number of process switches performed by the CPU

unsigned long

nr_uninterruptible

Number of processes that were previously in the runqueue lists and are now sleeping in TASK_UNINTERRUPTIBLE state (only the sum of these fields across all runqueues is meaningful)

unsigned long ...

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