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Commodity computer systems contain more and more processor cores and exhibit increasingly diverse architectural tradeoffs, including memory hierarchies, interconnects, instruction sets and variants, and IO configurations. Previous high-performance computing systems have scaled in specific cases, but the dynamic nature of modern client and server workloads, coupled with the impossibility of statically optimizing an OS for all workloads and hardware variants pose serious challenges for operating system structures. The authors argue that the challenge of future multi-core hardware is best met by embracing the networked nature of the machine, rethinking OS architecture using ideas from distributed systems.
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