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I want to see if my process makes a lot of context switches. I also want to see how manpulating task groups affects the number of context switches.

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What OS? What version? What kernel? –  Mikel May 25 '12 at 16:48
GNU/Linux 2.6.18 –  luntain May 25 '12 at 17:28
Check /proc/[pid]/status –  Kevin May 25 '12 at 17:34

4 Answers 4

pidstat(1) - Report statistics for Linux tasks. According to man pidstat it's so easy as just pidstat -w …

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You can view information about your process's context switches in /proc/<pid>/status.

$ pid=307
$ grep ctxt /proc/$pid/status
voluntary_ctxt_switches:        41
nonvoluntary_ctxt_switches:     16

To see these numbers updating continuously, run

$ # Update twice a second.
$ watch -n.5 grep ctxt /proc/$pid/status

To get just the numbers, run

$ grep ctxt /proc/$pid/status | awk '{ print $2 }'
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To get a record of an entire process run, you can use the GNU time utility (don't confuse it with the bash builtin) with the -v option. Here's an example with unrelated lines of output removed:

$ `which time` -v ls
a.out  exception_finder.cpp  log.txt
    Command being timed: "ls"
    Voluntary context switches: 1
    Involuntary context switches: 2
    Exit status: 0
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Write the following script to file (ctx.sh). with ctx.sh <core> you will see all the processes running on a given core and changing nv-context switches will be highlighted. Looking at this, you will be able to identify which are the competing processes for the core.


if [[ $# -eq 0 ]]
   echo "Usage:"
   echo "$0 <core>"
   exit 1

if [[ -z $2 ]]
   watch -d -n .2 $0 $1 nw

ps -Leo lastcpu:1,tid,comm | grep "^$1 " | awk '{printf $3": ";system("cut -d\" \" -f3  /proc/"$2"/task/"$2"/schedstat 2>/dev/null")}' | sort -k 1 | column -t
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