Intel Making Progress On Their "mOS" Modified Linux Kernel Running Lightweight Kernels

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 12 August 2020 at 01:00 AM EDT. 12 Comments
For a while now Intel has been quietly been working on "mOS" as the "multi-OS" that is a modified version of the Linux kernel that in turn is running lightweight kernels for high-performance computing purposes.

Intel mOS has been seldom talked about (or incredibly rare, based on public searches) as it's still largely a research project but showing much potential in the area of high performance computing for delivering better scalability and reliability of HPC workloads. In fact, mOS can already be used on some supercomputers like ASCI Red, IBM Blue Gene, and others.

The mOS project with its lightweight kernels (LWK) are considered "pre-alpha" but at least for some workloads are showing much promise. Intel is aiming for a production-quality release of this "modified Linux kernel" for the Aurora (A21) supercomputer next year for Exascale computing.

Under the "Multi-OS" concept, the Linux kernel is managing a minimal number of core(s) per socket while the "LWK" kernels manage the resources for the rest of the system. By leveraging the Linux kernel they maintain Linux ABI compatibility. The LWK scheduler prevents Linux kernel work from happening on the designated CPU cores to reduce noise, allow maximum CPU cycles to the intended application, and various optimizations around thread and memory handling.

The latest work on mOS as of yesterday re-base against the latest Linux 5.4 LTS kernel while having various updates in its current v0.8 state. It will certainly be interesting to see where this work leads over the months ahead as it works up to a production-quality debut.

Those wanting to check out the code or learn more about the currently-experimental mOS can do so via GitHub.
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