The Linux Scheduler: a Decade of Wasted Cores

the morning paper

The Linux Scheduler: a Decade of Wasted Cores – Lozi et al. 2016

This is the first in a series of papers from EuroSys 2016. There are three strands here: first of all, there’s some great background into how scheduling works in the Linux kernel; secondly, there’s a story about Software Aging and how changing requirements and maintenance can cause decay; and finally, the authors expose four bugs in Linux scheduling that caused cores to remain idle even when there was pressing work waiting to be scheduled. Hence the paper title, “A Decade of Wasted Cores.”

In our experiments, these performance bugs caused many-fold performance degradation for synchronization-heavy scientific applications, 13% higher latency for kernel make, and a 14-23% decrease in TPC-H throughput for a widely used commercial database.

The evolution of scheduling in Linux

By and large, by the year 2000, operating systems designers considered scheduling to be…

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