Asymmetric Multiprocessing Issues

Scheduled: Friday, September 25, 2009 from 2:15 – 3:00pm in Salon CD


This talk will discuss problems faced by designers of multicore systems with multiple kernels, with an emphasis on solutions across developer communities.


Embedded system designers want to use asymmetric multiprocessing to supplement Linux with more specialized capabilities (e.g. tighter real-time bounds or better network throughput). In a nutshell, the idea is “co-operative partitioning”: run multiple kernels, without isolation, on a multicore system.

There are a number of issues in adapting Linux to ASMP environments, such as exactly how to get both kernels loaded, how to convince them to leave some hardware resources for each other, how to share hardware devices, and how to communicate. Especially this last point is very similar to issues found in traditional coprocessor (e.g. CompactPCI) or FPGA systems.

Using existing solutions, such as Open Firmware-inspired device trees and virtio drivers, can save developer time and make Linux better faster for these applications.


  • Biography

    Hollis Blanchard has been hacking on PowerPC Linux (server and embedded) and hypervisors for about 10 years, many of those in IBM’s Linux Technology Center. He loves Mercurial and Python, dislikes x86 architecture, can’t stand Git, and runs

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