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The 'convergence' of operating systems and distributed systems

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It’s become common to hear people working on operating systems for modern multicore machines assert that “computers are becoming much more like distributed systems”. In this talklet I hope to kick off a discussion about whether this is really true, and whether we can apply the techniques and models of traditional distributed systems theory to multicore machines without significant adaptation. I’ll present a short analysis of failure detection, network (a)synchrony and cost models in the context of a multicore machine, and demonstrate what I perceive as the important differences by showing how the theoretical solution to the consensus problem can be greatly improved upon with a little domain knowledge. There will be plenty for reasonable people to disagree about!

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory NetOS Group Talklets series.

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