Established: July 9, 2003

OS and tools for building dependable systems. The Singularity research codebase and design evolved to become the Midori advanced-development OS project. While never reaching commercial release, at one time Midori powered all of Microsoft’s natural language search service for the West Coast and Asia.

“…it is impossible to predict how a singularity will affect objects in its causal future.” – NCSA Cyberia Glossary

What’s New?

The Singularity Research Development Kit (RDK) 2.0 is available for academic non-commercial use. You can download it from CodePlex, Microsoft’s open source project hosting website, here.

Our article in Operating Systems Review, Singularity: Rethinking the Software Stack, is a concise introduction to the Singularity project.


Singularity was a multi-year research project focused on the construction of dependable systems through innovation in the areas of systems, languages, and tools. We built a research operating system prototype (called Singularity), extended programming languages, and developed new techniques and tools for specifying and verifying program behavior.

Advances in languages, compilers, and tools open the possibility of significantly improving software. For example, Singularity uses type-safe languages and an abstract instruction set to enable what we call Software Isolated Processes (SIPs). SIPs provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains. In the current Singularity prototype SIPs are extremely cheap; they run in ring 0 in the kernel’s address space.

Singularity uses these advances to build more reliable systems and applications. For example, because SIPs are so cheap to create and enforce, Singularity runs each program, device driver, or system extension in its own SIP. SIPs are not allowed to share memory or modify their own code. As a result, we can make strong reliability guarantees about the code running in a SIP. We can verify much broader properties about a SIP at compile or install time than can be done for code running in traditional OS processes. Broader application of static verification is critical to predicting system behavior and providing users with strong guarantees about reliability.




Mark AikenPaul BarhamTrishul ChilimbiJohn DeTrevilleUlfar ErlingssonWolfgang GrieskampTim HarrisOrion HodsonRebecca IsaacsMike JonesSteven LeviRoy LevinNick MurphyJakob RehofWolfram SchulteDan SimonBjarne SteensgaardDavid TarditiTed Wobber






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