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Micro-kernel support for continuous media in distributed systems

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date07/1994
JournalComputer Networks and ISDN Systems
Number of pages19
Original languageEnglish


Currently, popular operating systems are unable to support the end-to-end real-time requirements of distributed continuous media. Furthermore, the integration of continuous media communications software into such systems poses significant challenges. This paper describes a design for distributed multimedia support in a micro-kernel operating system environment which provides the necessary soft real-time support while simultaneously running conventional applications. Our approach is to extend existing micro-kernel abstractions to include QoS configurability, connection-oriented communications and real-time threads. The design uses the following key concepts: the notion of a flow to represent QoS controlled communication between two application threads, a close integration of communications and thread scheduling and the use of a split-level scheduling architecture with kernel-and user-level threads. Implementation work is not yet completed and therefore performance figures are not available. However, the paper shows how our design qualitatively improves performance over existing micro-kernel facilities by reducing the number of protection-domain crossings and context switches incurred.