An online scheduler for hardware accelerators on general-purpose operating systems

MSR-TR-2010-169 |

This paper presents an online scheduling algorithm for hardware accelerators and its implementation on the NetBSD operating system. The scheduler uses the current performance characteristics of the accelerators to select which accelerators to load and unload. The evaluation on a number of workloads shows that the scheduler is typically within 20% of the optimal schedule computed offline. The hardware support consists of simple cost-benefit indicators, usable for any online scheduling algorithm. The NetBSD modifications consist primarily in loadable kernel modules, with minimal changes to the operating system itself. The measured overhead is negligible when accelerators are not in use, and otherwise scales linearly by a small constant with the number of active accelerators.