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Multitasking Operating System Design for Electronic Music

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This paper will describe basic concepts of multi-tasking operating systems, along with their advantages in a digital audio workstation environment. Specific features of the WaveFrame Audio Real-Time Operating System (ARTOS) and problems arising from their implementation will be discussed.: Most of the traditional elements of a multi-tasking operating system are present in ARTOS: task scheduler, device drivers, memory management, inter-task and inter-processor communication. Additions such as voice allocation routines, object-oriented MIDI-to-voice mapping routines, real-time event processing, voice garbage collection, signal processor scheduling, and distributed processing are included to support specific needs of the audio workstation environment. The advantages of this approach include flexible management of task priorities, improved software portability, high level interface to software and hardware resources, and uniform message passing between tasks.: Problems that were encountered included equitably prioritizing tasks, reducing message passing overhead, and accommodating transfer of large sound-files concurrently with rapid response to real-time MIDI messages.

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