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This book represents a significant new milestone in UNIX kernel internals books. Symmetric multiprocessing and cache memory systems are important cost-effective technologies for improving performance in today's state-of-the-art systems.
Written for the UNIX kernel developer, this book provides a complete yet comprehensible explanation of the operation of caches and symmetric multiprocessors, how they work together, and the issues operating systems must address in order to run on the machines that incorporate them.
After a review of UNIX kernel internals, Curt Schimmel launches into a detailed description of cache memory systems, including several kinds of virtual and physical caches, as well as a chapter on efficient cache management. For each type of cache, the book covers the impact on the software and the operating system changes necessary for these systems. The next section details the operation of the tightly-coupled, shared memory, symmetric multiprocessor. It examines the problems these multiprocessors present to the operating system, such as race conditions, deadlocks, and the ordering of memory operations, and looks at how the UNIX kernel can be adapted to run on such systems. Finally, the book looks at the interaction between cache memory systems and multiprocessors and the new problems that this interaction presents to the kernel. Techniques for solving these problems are then explained.
Numerous examples representing CISC and RISC processors, such as the Intel 80486 and Pentium, the Motorola 68040 and 88000, as well as theMIPS and SPARC processors, illustrate the concepts presented. To reinforce the concepts, each chapter contains a set of exercises with answers to selected exercises included in the back.
"This book UNIX Systems for Modern Architectures for the systems programmer covers almost everything you wanted to know about caches, multiprocessor systems, and cached multiprocessor systems, especially as related to UNIX."-Unix Review