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23 October 2018

Publication details

T. Cucinotta, L. Abeni, J. Lelli, G. Lipari. "Improving Responsiveness of Time-Sensitive Applications by Exploiting Dynamic Task Dependencies," Software: Practice and Experience, Vol. 48, Issue 4, April 2018 (on-line since December 2017)

Abstract

In this paper, a mechanism is presented for reducing priority inversion in multi-programmed computing systems. Contrarily to well-known approaches from the literature, this paper tackles cases where the dependency relationships among tasks cannot be known in advance to the operating system (OS). The presented mechanism allows tasks to explicitly declare said relationships, enabling the OS scheduler to take advantage of such information and trigger priority inheritance, resulting in reduced priority inversion.

We present the prototype implementation of the concept within the Linux kernel, in the form of modifications to the standard POSIX condition variables code, along with an extensive evaluation including a quantitative assessment of the benefits for applications making use of the technique, as well as comprehensive overhead measurements. Also, we present an associated technique for theoretical schedulability analysis of a system using the new mechanism, which is useful to determine whether all tasks can meet their deadlines or not, in the specific scenario of tasks interacting only through remote procedure calls, and under partitioned scheduling.

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