Academic Commons


The Synthesis Kernel

Pu, Calton; Massalin, Henry; Ioannidis, John

The Synthesis distributed operating system combines efficient kernel calls with a high-level, orthogonal interface. The key concept is the use of a code synthesizer in the kernel to generate specialized (thus short and fast) kernel routines for specific situations. We have three methods of synthesizing code: Factoring Invariants to bypass redundant computations; Collapsing Layers to eliminate unnecessary procedure calls and context switches; and Executable Data Structures to shorten data structure traversal time. Applying these methods, the kernel call synthesized to read /dev/mem takes about 15 microseconds on a 68020 machine. A simple model of computation called a synthetic machine supports parallel and distributed processing. The interface to synthetic machine consists of six operations on four kinds of objects. This combination of a high-level interface with the code synthesizer avoids the traditional trade-off in operating systems between powerful interfaces and efficient implementations.



More About This Work

Academic Units
Computer Science
Department of Computer Science, Columbia University
Columbia University Computer Science Technical Reports, CUCS-259-87
Published Here
November 7, 2011