Conference paper

Language Support for Fast and Reliable Message Based Communication in Singularity OS

Message-based communication offers potential benefits of providing stronger specification and cleaner separation between components. Compared with shared-memory interactions, message passing has the potential disadvantages of being more expensive (no direct sharing), and more complicated to program. In this paper we report on the language, verification, and run-time system features that make messages practical as the sole means of communication between processes in the Singularity operating system. We show that using advanced programming language and verification techniques, it is possible to provide and enforce strong system-wide invariants that enable efficient communication and cheap software-based process isolation. Furthermore, specifications on communications help in detecting programmer mistakes early-namely at compile-time-thereby reducing the difficulty of the message-based programming model. The paper describes our communication invariants, the language and verification features that support them, as well as implementation details of the channel infrastructure. A number of benchmarks are used to show the competitiveness of this approach.


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