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Scheduler Activations: Effective Kernel Support for the User-Level Management
 

Summary: Scheduler Activations: Effective Kernel
Support for the User-Level Management
of Parallelism
THOMAS E. ANDERSON, BRIAN N. BERSHAD, EDWARD D. LAZOWSKA,
and HENRY M. LEVY
(University of Washington
Threads are the vehicle for concurrency in many approaches to parallel programming. Threads
can be supported either by the operating system kernel or by user-level library code in the
application address space, but neither approach has been fully satisfactory.
This paper addresses this dilemma. First, we argue that the performance of kernel threads is
inherently worse than that of user-level threads, rather than this being an artifact of existing
implementations; managing parallelism at the user level is essential to high-performance
parallel computing. Next, we argue that the problems encountered in integrating user-level
threads with other system services is a consequence of the lack of kernel support for user-level
threads provided by contemporary multiprocessor operating systems; kernel threads are the
wrong abstraction on which to support user-level management of parallelism. Finally, we
describe the design, implementation, and performance of a new kernel interface and user-level
thread package that together provide the same functionality as kernel threads without compro-
mising the performance and flexibility advantages of user-level management of parallelism.
Categories and Subject Descriptors: D.4. 1 [Operating Systems]: Process Management; D.4.4

  

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

 

Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences