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multitask

[muhl-tee-task, -tahsk, muhl-tahy-] /ˈmʌl tiˌtæsk, -ˌtɑsk, ˈmʌl taɪ-/
verb (used without object)
1.
Computers. (of a single CPU) to execute two or more jobs concurrently.
2.
(of one person) to perform two or more tasks simultaneously.
Origin
1960-1965
1960-65; multi-+ task
Related forms
multitasker, noun
multitasking, multi-tasking, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for multitasking

multitasking

/ˈmʌltɪˌtɑːskɪŋ/
noun
1.
(computing) the execution of various diverse tasks simultaneously
2.
the carrying out of two or more tasks at the same time by one person

multitask

/ˈmʌltɪˌtɑːsk/
verb (intransitive)
1.
to work at several different tasks simultaneously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for multitasking
n.

also multi-tasking, 1966, originally in computing, from multi- + tasking (see task). Of humans, by 1998. Related: Multitask (v.). As an adjective, multi-task is recorded from 1954 in a non-computer mechanical context.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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multitasking in Science
multitasking
  (mŭl'tē-tās'kĭng)   
The concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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multitasking in Technology
computer, parallel
(Or "multi-tasking", "multiprogramming", "concurrent processing", "concurrency", "process scheduling") A technique used in an operating system for sharing a single processor between several independent jobs. The first multitasking operating systems were designed in the early 1960s.
Under "cooperative multitasking" the running task decides when to give up the CPU and under "pre-emptive multitasking" (probably more common) a system process called the "scheduler" suspends the currently running task after it has run for a fixed period known as a "time-slice". In both cases the scheduler is responsible for selecting the next task to run and (re)starting it.
The running task may relinquish control voluntarily even in a pre-emptive system if it is waiting for some external event. In either system a task may be suspended prematurely if a hardware interrupt occurs, especially if a higher priority task was waiting for this event and has therefore become runnable.
The scheduling algorithm used by the scheduler determines which task will run next. Some common examples are round-robin scheduling, priority scheduling, shortest job first and guaranteed scheduling.
Multitasking introduces overheads because the processor spends some time in choosing the next job to run and in saving and restoring tasks' state, but it reduces the worst-case time from job submission to completion compared with a simple batch system where each job must finish before the next one starts. Multitasking also means that while one task is waiting for some external event, the CPU to do useful work on other tasks.
A multitasking operating system should provide some degree of protection of one task from another to prevent tasks from interacting in unexpected ways such as accidentally modifying the contents of each other's memory areas.
The jobs in a multitasking system may belong to one or many users. This is distinct from parallel processing where one user runs several tasks on several processors. Time-sharing is almost synonymous but implies that there is more than one user.
Multithreading is a kind of multitasking with low overheads and no protection of tasks from each other, all threads share the same memory.
(1998-04-24)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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