A multi-kernel survey for high-performance computing
In HPC, two trends have led to the emergence and popularity of an operating-system approach in which multiple kernels are run simultaneously on each compute node. The first trend has been the increase in complexity of the HPC software environment, which has placed the traditional HPC kernel approaches under stress. Meanwhile, microprocessors with more and more cores are being produced, allowing specialization within a node. As is typical in an emerging field, different groups are considering many different approaches to deploying multi-kernels. In this paper we identify and describe a number of ongoing HPC multi-kernel efforts. Given the increasing number of choices for implementing and providing compute node kernel functionality, users and system designers will find value in understanding the differences among the kernels (and among the perspectives) of the different multi-kernel efforts. To that end, we provide a survey of approaches and qualitatively compare and contrast the alternatives. We identify a series of criteria that characterize the salient differences among the approaches, providing users and system designers with a common language for discussing the features of a design that are relevant for them. In addition to the set of criteria for characterizing multi-kernel architectures, the paper contributes a classification of current multi-kernel projects according to those criteria.