The Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge, England, has developed BarrelFish, an operating system designed to overcome the latency problem in multi-core computers. BarrelFish's key concept is to restrict communication between the cores to create a better timeline of actions, says Microsoft Labs' Andrew Herbert. "The operating system understands the relationship between the resources and where the bottlenecks can be, and it takes its scheduling decisions about how it organizes the work in the machine to respect those resources and those bottlenecks," Herbert says.
The awareness of where the latency occurs and the correct scheduling of how applications run has led to impressive results in Microsoft's labs. "The kind of performance graphs we get out of systems like BarrelFish [means] the latency holds much more constant even as the number of cores go up, so you win both on increased throughput and also not having to sacrifice the latency to achieve it," he says.
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