Counter Availability and Characteristics for Feed-Forward Based Synchronization

Date Added: Oct 2009
Format: PDF

The availability of hardware counters in computers is essential both to the applications in charge of timekeeping, and those in need of accurate time-stamping. Newer counters are now supported by open source operating systems, but the access interfaces are unnecessarily restricted, and in particular fail to satisfy the needs of feed-forward based synchronization algorithms. In this paper, the authors present modifications to the Linux and FreeBSD kernels to enable any application to access all available counters in an unrestricted way, and then evaluate their stability, latency and robustness to stress. They demonstrate how the feed-forward based RADclock can, through this interface, make use of any of several counters, and achieve the same microsecond synchronization with each.