A process scheduling algorithm employed by (among others) Linux. In a round robin, algorithm each process is given a set amount of time or quantum to execute. Once its quantum has expired, the process is preempted and placed onto the waiting queue. The next process on the waiting queue is then placed into the running state and executed until the quantum expires again. This algorithm is very popular in multi-user and time-sharing systems because there is a bounded amount of time a process must wait before it is executed.

Round robin is also a type of athletic tournament, wherein each team or person participating plays every other team or person a predetermined number of times (usually once or twice).

High profile examples of round robin games include how many US college athletics are scheduled - each conference schedules all of the teams within it to play each other once (football, in the conferences with fewer members, field hockey, lacrosse, and so forth) or twice (ACC basketball, among many others). The finals of the CONCACAF qualifying tournament was a home and home round robin tournament.

Compare this with single- or double- elimination.

Any type of competition in which every player plays against every other player.

The term round robin may have originated in the 1600s, when french monarchs would often put the instigator of a petition to death. To prevent this, some bright soul invented petitions that were written on a circle of ribbon -- thus preventing any name from getting the first position on the petition.

British sailors later modified this by signing their names in a starburst, with all names starting at one central point, and radiating out like the spokes on a wheel. In the rare case that you hear of a round robin petition these days, this is what is being refered to.

A round robin poem is a poem in which people (usually young children) take turns adding on lines. These are sometimes called round robin rhymes, as the focus is most often to teach children about rhyming.

The ever popular writing exercise (or perhaps 'experiment' would be a better word) in which a piece of paper is passed around the group, with each person adding a line to the story, is often called round robin, also.

When referring to formally signed documents, a round robin is one in which the signitaries write their names around the borders of the document in a circular fashion. The motivation for such a method is usually fear of punishment. By signing names in an structured, but unordered matter, no one person can be labeled as the first signer of the document, considered the ringleader, or given special retribution. In other words, no John Hanckocks.

For example, the petition of US troops stationed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War to be called home because of heavy casualties do to unsanitary conditions was signed by officers of the military there in a round-robin. It was not known who first called for the removal until later, in which it was found that Colonel Theodore Roosevelt had invigoured others to aid him.

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