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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.

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