The multicore challenge to real-time embedded Operating Systems: How to scale with maintained performance and determinism

The multicore technology introduces a great challenge to the entire software industry, and it causes a significant disruption to the embedded device market since it forces much of the existing software to be redesigned according to new, not yet established principles. Moore’s law does still hold, but processor vendors are rapidly turning to use the additional transistors to create more cores on the same die instead of increasing frequency since this not only gives more chip performance but also decreases the power consumption (watt/mips).

Author: Patrik Strömblad, Senior System Architect, Enea

This paper starts by describing the widely accepted multiprocessing software design models, and some of their benefits and drawbacks. After that, a few simple packet processing use cases are described, aiming to illuminate the pain points of a strict AMP multiprocessing approach. Finally, we introduce Enea’s OSE Multicore Edition (OSE MCE), and show how this new hybrid SMP/AMP RTOS technology can provide a homogeneous, scalable and portable execution platform for high-performance protocol processing for example within the LTE layer 1 and 2, while at the same time being a feature-rich SMP RTOS capable of network O&M. OSE MCE defines a very low-level multicore processor abstraction model which gives high portability and at the same time it provides a low-overhead device programming model.

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