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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

An operating system based on the concept of a supervisory computer

An operating system which is organized as a small supervisor and a set of independent processes are described. The supervisor handles I/O with external devices—the file and directory system—schedules active processes and manages memory, handles errors, and provides a small set of primitive functions which it will execute for a process. A process is able to specify a request for a complicated action on the part of the supervisor (usually a wait on the occurrence of a compound event in the system) by combining these primitives into a “supervisory computer program.” The part of the supervisor which executes these programs may be viewed as a software implemented “supervisory computer.” The paper develops these concepts in detail, outlines the remainder of the supervisor, and discusses some of the advantages of this approach.

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