RadixVM: Scalable address spaces for multithreaded applications


Abstract

RadixVM is a new virtual memory system design that enables fully concurrent operations on shared address spaces for multithreaded processes on cache-coherent multicore computers. Today, most operating systems serialize operations such as mmap and munmap, which forces application developers to split their multithreaded applications into multiprocess applications, hoard memory to avoid the overhead of returning it, and so on. RadixVM removes this burden from application developers by ensuring that address space operations on non-overlapping memory regions scale perfectly.

It does so by combining three techniques: 1) it organizes metadata in a radix tree instead of a balanced tree to avoid unnecessary cache line movement; 2) it uses a novel memory-efficient distributed reference counting scheme; and 3) it uses a new scheme to target remote TLB shootdowns and to often avoid them altogether. Experiments on an 80 core machine show that RadixVM achieves perfect scalability for non-overlapping regions: if several threads mmap or munmap pages in parallel, they can run completely independently and induce no cache coherence traffic.
 
Authors: Austin T. Clements, M. Frans Kaashoek, and Nickolai Zeldovich
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