Computer Science in Daily Life

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There is an algorithm used in scheduling the order that programs run on a computer called "Shortest Job First". It says that if you have three programs that want to run at the same time you should run the shortest ones first. This is the optimal way to minimize the amount of time that programs spend waiting for a chance to work.

What does this have to do with anything, you might ask? Well, it's like traveling on a 2-lane freeway. You've got one passing lane (processor) and multiple cars (programs) trying to complete their pass (run to completion). If you have a slow vehicle moving 69mph and two cars passing at 70mph and 75mph, it is going to take the 70mph vehicle 6 times longer to pass than it would've taken the 75mph vehicle to pass. If the slower passing vehicle simply allows the faster vehicle to pass traffic flows much faster.

In conclusion, tell your friends and neighbors not to be jerks and just get out of the way. I thank you, and them, for drastically reducing my chances of suffering a road-rage induced stroke before the age of 30.

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This page contains a single entry by Andrew published on August 5, 2004 10:27 AM.

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Memento in Real Life is the next entry in this blog.

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