Deadlock Prevention

Havender in his pioneering work showed that since all four of the conditions are necessary for deadlock to occur, it follows that deadlock might be prevented by denying any one of the conditions.


  • Elimination of “Mutual Exclusion” Condition
    The mutual exclusion condition must hold for non-sharable resources. That is, several processes cannot simultaneously share a single resource. This condition is difficult to eliminate because some resources, such as the tap drive and printer, are inherently non-shareable. Note that shareable resources like read-only-file do not require mutually exclusive access and thus cannot be involved in deadlock. 
  • Elimination of “Hold and Wait” Condition
    There are two possibilities for elimination of the second condition. The first alternative is that a process request be granted all of the resources it needs at once, prior to execution. The second alternative is to disallow a process from requesting resources whenever it has previously allocated resources. This strategy requires that all of the resources a process will need must be requested at once. The system must grant resources on “all or none” basis. If the complete set of resources needed by a process is not currently available, then the process must wait until the complete set is available. While the process waits, however, it may not hold any resources. Thus the “wait for” condition is denied and deadlocks simply cannot occur. This strategy can lead to serious waste of resources. For example, a program requiring ten tap drives must request and receive all ten derives before it begins executing. If the program needs only one tap drive to begin execution and then does not need the remaining tap drives for several hours. Then substantial computer resources (9 tape drives) will sit idle for several hours. This strategy can cause indefinite postponement (starvation). Since not all the required resources may become available at once. 
  • Elimination of “No-preemption” Condition
    The nonpreemption condition can be alleviated by forcing a process waiting for a resource that cannot immediately be allocated to relinquish all of its currently held resources, so that other processes may use them to finish. Suppose a system does allow processes to hold resources while requesting additional resources. Consider what happens when a request cannot be satisfied. A process holds resources a second process may need in order to proceed while second process may hold the resources needed by the first process. This is a deadlock. This strategy require that when a process that is holding some resources is denied a request for additional resources. The process must release its held resources and, if necessary, request them again together with additional resources. Implementation of this strategy denies the “no-preemptive” condition effectively.
    High Cost   When a process release resources the process may lose all its work to that point. One serious consequence of this strategy is the possibility of indefinite postponement (starvation). A process might be held off indefinitely as it repeatedly requests and releases the same resources. 
  • Elimination of “Circular Wait” Condition
    The last condition, the circular wait, can be denied by imposing a total ordering on all of the resource types and than forcing, all processes to request the resources in order (increasing or decreasing). This strategy impose a total ordering of all resources types, and to require that each process requests resources in a numerical order (increasing or decreasing) of enumeration. With this rule, the resource allocation graph can never have a cycle.
    For example, provide a global numbering of all the resources, as shown

  • 1 Card reader
    2 Printer
    3 Plotter
    4 Tape drive
    5 Card punch

    Now the rule is this: processes can request resources whenever they want to, but all requests must be made in numerical order. A process may request first printer and then a tape drive (order: 2, 4), but it may not request first a plotter and then a printer (order: 3, 2). The problem with this strategy is that it may be impossible to find an ordering that satisfies everyone.