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Scout: A Communications-Oriented OS

Alan B. Montz, David Mosberger, Sean O'Malley, Larry Peterson, Todd Proebsting, John Hartman

One-line summary: Communication-centric information appliances need an OS based on a communication path (bytes from application to network) as a first-class abstraction; scheduling of CPU, cache, TLB, etc. should be based on this abstraction, resulting in scalable and predictable communication behavior. Also, language & compiler optimizations should target OS code, which although different from application code exhibits optimizable patterns of its own.

Overview/Main Points


Like all good ideas, obvious in retrospect: by making the communication path the central point of the OS, we can make its performance predictable, if possibly at the expense of predictability in other areas. (Compare: relationship between macro and micro benchmarks for caches and CPU's is much better understood than it is for networks, since the scheduling and other facilities provided by the OS are usually orthogonal to the communications facilities and thereby have complex interactions with them. Cf. Ousterhout, Why Aren't Operating Systems Getting Faster as Fast as Hardware?)


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