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Heartbeats from MIT's Experimental Multicore OS

GigaStacey writes that Project Angstrom research from MIT has resulted in a new OS specifically designed to take advantage of multicore processors:

But crucial to the Angstrom operating system — dubbed FOS, for factored operating system — is a software-based performance measure, which Agarwal calls “heartbeats.” Programmers writing applications to run on FOS will have the option of setting performance goals: A video player, for instance, may specify that the playback rate needs to be an industry standard 30 frames per second. Software will automatically interpret that requirement and emit a simple signal — a heartbeat — each time a frame displays. If the heartbeat fell below 30, FOS could allocate more cores to the video player. Alternatively, if system resources are in short supply, it could adopt some computational short cuts in order to get the heartbeat back up again.

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