Deadlock Detection

If a system does not employ either a deadlock-prevention or a deadlock avoidance algorithm, then a deadlock situation may occur. In this environment, the system may provide:

  • An algorithm that examines the state of the system to determine whether a deadlock has occurred
  • An algorithm to recover from the deadlock

Single Instance of Each Resource Type

If all resources have only a single instance, then we can define a deadlock detection algorithm that uses a variant of the resource-allocation graph, called a wait-for graph. We obtain this graph from the resource-allocation graph by removing the resource nodes and collapsing the appropriate edges

Several Instances of a Resource Type

The wait-for graph scheme is not applicable to a resource-allocation system with multiple instances of each resource type. We turn now to a deadlock detection algorithm that is applicable to such a system. The algorithm employs several time-varying data structures that are similar to those used in the banker’s algorithm

Available. A vector of length m indicates the number of available resources of each type

Allocation. An n × m matrix defines the number of resources of each type currently allocated to each process

Request. An n × m matrix indicates the current request of each process. If Request[i][j] equals k, then process Pi is requesting k more instances of resource type Rj

Detection-Algorithm Usage

When should we invoke the detection algorithm ? The answer depends on two factors:

  • How often is a deadlock likely to occur?
  • How many processes will be affected by deadlock when it happens?

If deadlocks occur frequently, then the detection algorithm should be invoked frequently. Resources allocated to deadlocked processes will be idle until the deadlock can be broken. In addition, the number of processes involved in the deadlock cycle may grow

Deadlocks occur only when some process makes a request that cannot be granted immediately. This request may be the final request that completes a chain of waiting processes. In the extreme, then, we can invoke the deadlock detection algorithm every time a request for allocation cannot be granted immediately. In this case, we can identify not only the deadlocked set of processes but also the specific process that “caused” the deadlock. (In reality, each of the deadlocked processes is a link in the cycle in the resource graph, so all of them, jointly, caused the deadlock.) If there are many different resource types, one request may create many cycles in the resource graph, each cycle completed by the most recent request and “caused” by the one identifiable process.

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