Operating systems (OS) and system software are placed at the intersection of software (e.g., applications) and hardware and enable the efficient management and allocation of resources (e.g., time, memory, computing units). Therefore, they play a key role for the optimal utilisation of system resources which is especially important as this is crucial to building energy efficient and sustainable computing systems.
The research in our group concentrates on two main fields within the domain of system-software research:
Energy-aware Systems: Historically, system software often has a strict focus on performance (e.g., execution time, latency, throughput). Our research strives to establish energy-aware system software, which also treats energy as a first-level system resource. Part of the investigations are heterogeneous systems: starting from small embedded systems to high-performance computing (HPC) clusters. The careful usage of available energy resources for executing pending tasks in all of these systems plays the most important role: non-functional properties, such as energy efficiency and execution time, can only be improved when software activities and hardware components are coordinated as efficiently as possible. Hence, operating sytems need to be coupled tightly with a) the application layer and b) available hardware mechanisms.
Associated research projects: NEON, ANTILLAS, InvasIC, PEACHES
Non-volatile Memory: Byte-addressable non-volatile memory (NVM) has the potential to fundamentally change the memory hierarchy and architecture of modern computing systems and blurs long-standing distinctions between slow persistent storage (i.e., HDD, SSD) and fast volatile memory (i.e., RAM). This disruption entails many new challenges for system software to guarantee consistency, safety, and security of the system state, for example, after the event of software errors or power failures. On the other side, however, NVM has the potential to significantly increase the energy efficiency and performance of future computing systems. Therefore, currently NVM-aware system software is a fast-evolving research topic.
Associated research project: NEON, ANTILLAS