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Dining Philosophers

The Dining Philosophers problem is a classic multi-process synchronization problem. The problem consists of five philosophers sitting at a table who do nothing but think and eat. Between each philosopher, there is a single stick. In order to eat, a philosopher must have both sticks. A problem can arise if each philosopher grabs the stick on the right, then waits for the stick on the left. In this case a deadlock has occurred, and all philosophers will starve. Also, the philosophers should be fair. Each philosopher should be able to eat as much as the rest.

. . . click on the blue bullets to change program parameters. The first four control the sound track(the last one makes them shut up). The three slide bars control the speed, thinking time, and eating time.

The algorithm . . .

Initially, all philosophers are thinking. As they think, their eyes randomly(direction probability determined by the slider) move around. If a philosopher's eyes do a complete counter-clock wise circle, it will become hungry and its eyebrows will bow in. The philosopher will then wait for one stick, then the other. To prevent deadlocks, one of the sticks is marked. If a philosopher picks up the marked stick, it must put it back down and try the other stick. When this happens, the philosopher will raise its right eyebrow. Once the philosopher has both sticks, it will begin eating. After each bite, there is a chance (controlled by the slider) that the philosopher will start thinking again. The philosopher will then swap the sticks in its hands and return them. This is done so that the marked stick will not remain in the same place.

The secrets of the implementation . . . Each philosopher is its own thread. There is an additonal thread that is used to control the repainting. Each stick is represented by an instance of a class. When a philosopher wishes to pick up or drop a stick, it will make a call to the appropriate stick. To ensure that two philosophers do not simultaneously grab the same stick, a synchronized method is used. The images were ray-traced using The source of it all . . .


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