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Vertical Migration for Performance Enhancement in Layered Hardware/Firmware/Software Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131305D
Original Publication Date: 1978-May-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 16 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

John Stockenberg: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Vertical migration is a technique which improves system performance by moving software primitives through layers of application program and operating system software and microcode. Despite ever faster, cheaper, and more powerful computing hardware, rising expectations continue to absorb increased capability. Thus, new application programs are implemented because they can finally be handled cost-effectively; existing application programs can be upgraded. With increased capability such existing programs can provide better performance and/or handle more variables, more user interaction, more options and contingencies, and more security and reliability. The push for improving performance for a given application will therefore continue to exist for the foreseeable future. The primary method for gaining performance improvement on the relatively fixed hardware configurations available in typical environments is to tailor the soft components, e.g., the operating system or the firmware, to the requirements of the process to be optimized.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Vertical Migration for Performance Enhancement in Layered Hardware/Firmware/Software Systems

John Stockenberg

Raytheon and Brown University

Andries van Dam

Brown University

Vertical migration is a technique which improves system performance by moving software primitives through layers of application program and operating system software and microcode.

Despite ever faster, cheaper, and more powerful computing hardware, rising expectations continue to absorb increased capability. Thus, new application programs are implemented because they can finally be handled cost-effectively; existing application programs can be upgraded. With increased capability such existing programs can provide better performance and/or handle more variables, more user interaction, more options and contingencies, and more security and reliability. The push for improving performance for a given application will therefore continue to exist for the foreseeable future. The primary method for gaining performance improvement on the relatively fixed hardware configurations available in typical environments is to tailor the soft components, e.g., the operating system or the firmware, to the requirements of the process to be optimized.

Motivation for vertical migration

While tailoring cannot be easily done when a general purpose processor is shared between many users, there are at least two interesting environments in which tailoring is viable. The first is that of a dedicated processor. It may be a personal computer, real-time signal or control processor, or even the processor in an intelligent terminal. (The cheapness of microprocessors invites their dedicated use in any component needing computational power in a conventional computer system.) The second environment is provided by the distributed processing systems of the future. These systems have multiple processors which can be tailored for different types of applications. If we could dynamically route the different application program modules to the processors tuned for these modules, a sigruficant improvement in performance would result.'

There are two well-known types of performance tuning, one achieved by migrating software primitives into firmware, the other by (re\configuring operating systems to a given (set of) task(s). We show that these two techniques may be combined in "vertical migration" -- a systematic way of migrating primitives in a hierarchical software/ firmware system.

Architecture synthesis.

This technique can be defined as the utilization of application-oriented microcode t...