The Case for VOS: The Vector Operating System

13th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS 2011). May 2011.

Vijay Vasudevan, David Andersen, Michael Kaminsky*

Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

*Intel Labs


Operating systems research for manycore systems has recently focused its efforts on supporting the scalability of OS-intensive applications running on increasingly parallel hardware. Lost amidst the march towards this parallel future is efficiency: perfectly parallel software may saturate the parallel capabilities of the host system, but in doing so can waste hardware resources. This paper describes our motivation for the Vector OS, a design inspired by vector processing systems that provides efficient parallelism. The Vector OS organizes and executes requests for operating system resources through "vector" interfaces that operate on vectors of objects. We argue that these interfaces allow the OS to capitalize on numerous chances to both eliminate redundant work found in OS-intensive systems and use the underlying parallel hardware to its full capability, opportunities that are missed by existing operating systems.





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