Technologies for Unifying Multiscale Computing

MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Anant Agarwal (617) 253-1448
Frans Kaashoek (617) 253-7149
Charles E. Leiserson (617) 253-5833
William Weihl (617) 253-6030

This research was sponsored by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (DoD) through the Office of Naval Research under Contract No. N00014-94-1-0985.


Multiscale computing refers to the diverse set of computing environments that scale over a wide range of engineering parameters, including cost, size, power, and reliability. Unfortunately, the software problem for multiscale computing is compounded by this rich diversity of computing platforms, including networks of workstations, servers, multiprocessors, and MPPs. The goal of this project is to develop technologies necessary to unify computing across these different platforms.

We have identified three promising technologies to achieve this goal. In the area of architecture, a user-level communications unit (UCU) provides efficient and protected communication across multiscale platforms. In the area of operating systems, an exokernel interacts with the UCU and provides mechanisms for applications to define their own operating system abstractions. In the area of applications, a multithreaded runtime system provides unified resource abstractions for programming multiscale computers.

Accordingly, our research on multiscale systems has three components. Research in architecture focuses on the development of the Fugu scalable workstation incorporating the UCU. Operating systems research focuses on the design and implementation of the exokernel. Our research on applications focuses on the construction of the Cilk multithreaded runtime system.

Progress reports

Semi-annual progress report (4/20/95)

Recent publications

The MIT Alewife machine: architecture and performance
Exokernel: an operating system architecture for application-level resource management
Demand-based Coscheduling of Parallel Jobs on Multiprogrammed Multiprocessors
Cilk: An Efficient Multithreaded Runtime System
MGS: A Multigrain Shared Memory System
Multigrain Shared Memory (Ph.D. thesis)
Exploiting Two-Case Delivery for Fast Protected Messaging
An Efficient Virtual Network Interface in the FUGU Scalable Workstation (Ph.D. thesis)

Recent talks

Exokernel: an operating system architecture for application-level resource management (7/95) $Date: 2009/08/13 18:52:48 $