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We consider the problem of scheduling a set of n preemptable tasks in a system having r resources. Each task has an arbitrary, but known, worst case processing time and a deadline, and may request simultaneous use of a number of resources. A resource can be used either in shared mode or exclusive mode. In this paper, we develop and evaluate algorithms for determining whether or not a set of preemptive tasks is schedulable in such a real-time system, and if so, determining a schedule for it. This scheduling problem is known to be computationally intensive. In many real-time application environments, tasks are scheduled dynamically, and hence the scheduling algorithms used must have low run-time costs. To keep run-time costs low, we propose the use of suboptimal but practical algorithms that employ computationally simple heuristics. The computational complexity of our algorithms for scheduling n tasks in a system having r resources is O(rn2), which is very much lower than that of known optimal algorithms. We report on the results of simulation studies performed on such heuristic preemptive scheduling algorithms and the sensitivity of the performance of the algorithms with respect to various scheduling parameters. These studies show that due to the complexity of the problem, straightforward heuristics do not perform satisfactorily. However, an algorithm that uses combinations of such heuristics in conjunction with limited backtracks works very well.
Date of Publication: Aug. 1987