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The Case for ApplicationSpecific Operating Systems

Summary: The Case for Application­Specific
Operating Systems
Thomas E. Anderson
Division of Computer Science
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
Computer systems of today have the potential for vastly improved applica­
tion performance. Advances in hardware technology have led to systems with
more, faster processors, higher bandwidth networks, and larger amounts of pri­
mary, secondary, and tertiary storage. Relative to systems of only a decade
ago, improvements of at least two orders of magnitude have occurred in each
of these areas, and it appears likely that the next decade will see equally large
Recent evidence suggests that these trends will require re­thinking the tra­
ditional role of operating systems. Increasingly, applications programmers and
compiler writers have found that achieving the performance potential of modern
computer systems requires control over the physical resources of the machine.
Traditional operating systems, however, invisibly manage physical resources on
behalf of applications. As a result, some have suggested the only way to ob­
tain good application performance is to simply ``turn off'' the operating sys­


Source: Anderson, Tom - Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Washington at Seattle


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences