Browse Definitions:
Definition

true multitasking

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

True multitasking is the capacity of an operating system to carry out two or more tasks simultaneously rather than switching from one task to another. 

The multi-core processors  in most current computers enable true multitasking because each core can be performing a separate task at any given time.  Examples of multitasking include running an MP3 player and a word processor application simultaneously and processing email while streaming a webinar.

A task, in this context, is a basic unit of programming that an operating system controls. Because tasks are defined differently from one OS to another, the unit of programming identified as a task may be an entire program or successive invocations of a program. A program may make requests of other utility programs, in which case the utility programs may also be considered tasks (or subtasks). 

In single-core processors, multitasking is actually accomplished by time-sharing processor resources – tasks aren’t actually simultaneous but the operating system shifts quickly between tasks, ideally transparently to the user. The operating system monitors where the user is in these tasks and goes from one to the other without losing information.  

Human multitasking is similar to the asynchronous multitasking of single-core processors. Although people experience their multitasking as simultaneous, they are actually switching back and forth from one thing to another, in terms of brain processing. In any kind of multitasking, performance degrades as more tasks are processed.

This was last updated in August 2013

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

  • pure risk (absolute risk)

    Pure risk, also called absolute risk, is a category of threat that is beyond human control and has only one possible outcome if ...

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

SearchSecurity

  • phishing

    Phishing is a form of fraud in which an attacker masquerades as a reputable entity or person in email or other communication ...

  • vulnerability disclosure

    Vulnerability disclosure is the practice of publishing information about a computer security problem, and a type of policy that ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR)

    Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) are closely related practices that describe an organization's preparation for ...

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

SearchStorage

  • flash memory

    Flash memory, also known as flash storage, is a type of nonvolatile memory that erases data in units called blocks.

  • NAND flash memory

    NAND flash memory is a type of nonvolatile storage technology that does not require power to retain data.

  • NOR flash memory

    NOR flash memory is one of two types of nonvolatile storage technologies.

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close