HyperLink   SpaceJMP: Programming with Multiple Virtual Address Spaces
HiPEAC Paper Award
Publication Year:
  Izzat El Hajj, Alexander Merritt, Gerd Zellweger, Dejan Milojicic, Reto Achermann, Paolo Faraboschi, Wen-mei Hwu, Timothy Roscoe, Karsten Schwan
  Proceedings of the 21th ACM International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems (ASPLOS '16)

Memory-centric computing demands careful organization of the virtual address space, but traditional methods for doing so are inflexible and inefficient. If an application wishes to address larger physical memory than virtual address bits allow, if it wishes to maintain pointer-based data structures beyond process lifetimes, or if it wishes to share large amounts of memory across simultaneously executing processes, legacy interfaces for managing the address space are cumbersome and often incur excessive overheads.

We propose a new operating system design that promotes virtual address spaces to first-class citizens, enabling process threads to attach to, detach from, and switch between multiple virtual address spaces. Our work enables data-centric applications to utilize vast physical memory beyond the virtual range, represent persistent pointer-rich data structures with-out special pointer representations, and share large amount of memory between processes efficiently.

We describe our prototype implementations in the Dragon-Fly BSD and Barrelfish operating systems. We also present programming semantics and a compiler transformation to detect unsafe pointer usage. We demonstrate the benefits of our work on data-intensive applications such as the GUPS benchmark, the SAMTools genomics workflow, and the Redis key-value store.