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Operating System Support for Pipeline Parallelism



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Operating System Support for Pipeline Parallelism on Multicore Architectures John Giacomoni and Manish Vachharajani University of Colorado at Boulder Abstract The industry wide shift to multicore architectures presents the software development community with an opportunity to revisit fundamental programming models and resource management strategies Continuing to track the historical performance gains enabled by Moore s law with multicores may be difficult as many applications are fundamentally sequential and not amenable to data or task parallel organizations Fortunately an important subset of these applications stream data e g video processing network frame processing and scientific computing and can be decomposed into pipeline parallel structures delivering increases proportional to the pipeline depth 2x 3x etc To realize the potential of pipeline parallel software organizations requires reexamining some basic historical assumptions in OS design including the purpose of time sharing and the nature of applications The key architectural change is that multicore architectures make it possible to fully dedicate resources as needed without compromising existing OS services This paper describes the minimal OS extensions necessary to support efficient pipelineparallel applications on multicore systems with supporting evidence from the domain of network frame processing 1 Introduction The industry wide shift to multicore1 architectures presents the software development community with a rare opportunity to revisit fundamental programming models and resources management strategies Multicore systems are now present in every class of system including embedded systems workstations and laptops The question that must be addressed by 1 We are using the the term multicore to refer to systems with 4 to 100 processing cores 4 the systems community is how to utilize the additional computational resources and what minimum OS changes are needed to maximize their potential The obvious



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