Thursday, May 24, 2007

A fresh perspective on ‘reservation for women’ in relation to process scheduling in operating systems

There has been much debate about whether there should be 27% reservation for OBCs in professional educational institutions. Though this post should logically apply to the issue of reservations for OBCs too, I am not concentrating on that because in that case there are two distinct sub-issues of social and economic backwardness which need to be resolved first. This post is about reservation for women [girls included].

Those who have a knowledge of how process scheduling is done in computer operating systems [henceforth ill call them OS or OSes] are aware that there is a phenomenon called starvation that must be prevented to ensure that no process is made to wait for very long or infinitely long. The priority scheduling algorithm is one algorithm which can cause starvation of low priority processes, in case there are many higher priority [and possibly longer too] processes. Any scheduling algorithm chosen for process scheduling must ensure that starvation does not take place.

Considering an OS as a society, and a process in it as a human [in current case my focus is on females]. I believe that each process scheduling algorithm has its own disadvantages, and each of them must be tweaked so that starvation does not take place. An OS is an environment, in which there is possibility of starvation taking place. And if there is a possibility of some process being disfavored , then the OS must ensure that there is also a corresponding provision to ensure that that possibility is avoided [in case of priority scheduling algorithm, an added parameter of aging may be used to ensure that starvation does not take place].

My take is that if we do not have an ideal system [an environment] then we have possibility of disfavoring any element of the system. And if there is a possibility, then there must be a provision to ensure that the possibility is avoided. The words possibility and provision are central to this post.

Coming to real life, the current environment in India creates ample possibilities of women being disfavored. And it becomes a duty to create provisions that avoid them. Unless we conceive, implement, and uphold a system that is inherently ideal for all humans of the system, it becomes imperative that we do not let women be disadvantaged. In the light of above, I currently support reservations and other concessions for women.

As a side note, there was a debate in my class in english period on the same topic when I was in XI [maybe XII]. I remember that I was probably the only one on one side, with others on the opposite side [unfortunately I do not remember which side I was on]. I think I probably opposed reservations then; maybe that was without any logic. Today I support.

Finally, I should mention that I used the analogy of process scheduling not as a proof or justification of my stance on this issue [I am strictly against use of analogies as proofs/justifications], but as an aid to make one understand my concept.

Last but not the least, it must also be ensured that the provisions are implemented and enforced only to an extent that’s required. The provisions may lead to some undeserved advantages for women- which is okay, but must not lead to any undeserved advantages for women at the cost of the opposite sex.


  1. I was amongst the few ones who stood for reservations back then in class X1...i clearly remember....and an extremely well-written post supported with concrete logic...i must appreciate you on your writing skills. ur brilliant as always.

  2. do u remember my stance back then?

  3. Update [Apr'16]: MMORPGs are dominated by male players. Quite natural, since it's only guys who play serious video games. Will women start demanding reservation in such online games too?