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Expanding the Vocabulary of Power management - Mark Gross


Mark is the author of pm_qos and wants to see it gain traction. See the recorded CELF / ELC 2008 talk on freeelectrons.org to see where he is coming from on this topic. He works at Intel in Portland.


Power management used to be about turning things on and off, then it was about putting them into various suspend states, now we find that we need to include the notations of latency and throughput into the equation.

Power management has lately become an exercise in maximizing the CPU deep C-state residency on a lightly loaded system. The next kernel feature to support this will be the consolidation of timers, DMA operations, and even interrupts. The key to doing such things will be the effective communication of latency expectations of the user applications to the kernel, via PM_QOS.

In addition to these new concepts becoming part of power management we are seeing a number of power management middleware ideas pop up. A problem I would like to define, and work with the community to solve, is how can these notions of latency and throughput be expressed in a manner that scales well with the number of devices and avoids the duplication of knowledge between kernel and user mode software?

I feel this duplication of knowledge is a bad thing and we need to work together to define useful and meaning full abstractions that are portable across kernels, drivers and distributions. Otherwise we just have a big mess.