Abstraction, Reality Checks, and RCU (abstract)

In an abstract sense, CPUs have changed very little over the past couple of decades -- in many cases, 20-year-old binaries will run on new machines. However, the performance characteristics of computers systems has changed dramatically over this period of time, particularly for SMP operating-system kernels such as Linux. This talk will summarize some of these changes, and will give an overview of how a recent synchronization mechanism, namely RCU ("read-copy update") has greatly improved performance of algorithms involving read-mostly data structures in the Linux kernel.