Turnaround Time

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What Does Turnaround Time Mean?

Turnaround time (TAT) is the time interval from the time of submission of a process to the time of the completion of the process. It can also be considered as the sum of the time periods spent waiting to get into memory or ready queue, execution on CPU and executing input/output. Turnaround time is an important metric in evaluating the scheduling algorithms of an operating system.


Techopedia Explains Turnaround Time

In simple terms, turnaround time is the total time needed for an application to provide the required output to the user. From a batch system perspective, turnaround time can be considered the time taken in batch formation and printing of results. The concept of turnaround time overlaps with lead time and contrasts with the concept of cycle time. Turnaround time is expressed in terms of units of time for a specific system state and at times for a given algorithm. Turnaround time varies for different applications and different programming languages.

Many factors influence turnaround time, such as:

  • Memory needed for the application
  • Execution time needed for the application
  • Resources needed for the application
  • Operating environment

Turnaround time is an important component in the design of microprocessors, especially for multiprocessor systems. Faster turnaround designs are preferred by hardware design companies, as they lead to faster performance and computing speeds.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.