Multicore OSes: Looking Forward from 1991, er, 2011

David Holland and Margo Seltzer

Abstract

Upcoming multicore processors, with hundreds of cores or more in a single chip, require a degree of parallel scalability that is not currently available in today’s system software. Based on prior experience in the supercomputing sector, the likely trend for multicore processors is away from shared memory and toward sharednothing architectures based on message passing. In light of this, the lightweight messages and channels programming model, found among other places in Erlang, is likely the best way forward. This paper discusses what adopting this model entails, describes the architecture of an OS based on this model, and outlines a few likely implementation challenges.
Postscript Slides