Operating System: Inter-Process Communication

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

An operating system serves as the fundamental software that manages and controls the resources of a computer system. It acts as an intermediary between the hardware and software applications, enabling efficient and secure utilization of system resources. One crucial aspect of an operating system is facilitating communication between different processes running on the system. This communication is known as Inter-Process Communication (IPC) and plays a vital role in enabling collaboration, synchronization, and data sharing among processes.

In this article, we will explore the concept of IPC and its significance in operating systems, highlighting various mechanisms and techniques employed to establish efficient communication between processes.

Operating System: Inter-Process Communication

Processes executing concurrently in the operating system may be either independent or cooperating processes. A process is independent if it can’t affect or be affected by the other processes executing in the system. Any process that shares data with other processes is a cooperating process. The advantages of process cooperation are information sharing, computation speed up, modularity, and convenience to work on many tasks at the same time. Cooperating processes require an Inter-Process Communication (IPC) mechanism that will allow them to exchange data and information.

  • There are two fundamental models of IPC:
    • Shared memory: In the shared memory model, a region of memory that is shared by a cooperating process is established. The process can then exchange information by reading and writing data to the shared region.
    • Message passing: In the message passing model, communication takes place by means of messages exchanged between the cooperating processes.

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