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Chapter: Advanced Computer Architecture : Multi-Core Architectures


The ability of an operating system to execute different parts of a program, called threads, simultaneously.



The ability of an operating system to execute different parts of a program, called threads, simultaneously. The programmer must carefully design the program in such a way that all the threads can run at the same time without interfering with each other


Advantages of Multi-threading


If a thread can not use all the computing resources of the CPU (because instructions depend on each other's result), running another thread permits to not leave these idle. If several threads work on the same set of data, they can actually share its caching, leading to better cache usage or synchronization on its values.


If a thread gets a lot of cache misses, the other thread(s) can continue, taking advantage of the unused computing resources, which thus can lead to faster overall execution, as these resources would have been idle if only a single thread was executed


1. Two levels of thread


Two levels of thread 

1.User level(for user thread) 

2.Kernel level(for kernel thread)


User Threads


User threads are supported above the kernel and are implemented by a thread library at the user level. The library provides support for thread creation, scheduling, and management with no support from the kernel.Because the kernel is unaware of user-level threads, all thread creation and scheduling are done in user space without the need for kernel intervention.


User-level threads are generally fast to create and manage User-thread libraries include POSIX Pthreads,Mach C-threads,and Solaris 2 UI-threads.


Kernel Threads


Kernel threads are supported directly by the operating system: The kernel performs thread creation, scheduling, and management in kernel space. Because thread management is done by the operating system, kernel threads are generally slower to create and manage than are user threads. Most operating systems-including Windows NT, Windows 2000, Solaris 2, BeOS, and Tru64 UNIX (formerly Digital UN1X)-support kernel threads


Multi-threading Models


There are three models for thread libraries, each with its own trade-offs


Ø Many threads on one LWP (many-to-one)

Ø One thread per LWP (one-to-one)

Ø Many threads on many LWPs (many-to-many)




The many-to-one model maps many user-level threads to one kernel thread. Advantages: Totally portable More efficient Disadvantages: cannot take advantage of parallelism The entire process is block if a thread makes a blocking system call Mainly used in language systems, portable libraries like solaris 2




The one-to-one model maps each user thread to a kernel thread. Advantages: allows parallelism Provide more concurrency Disadvantages: Each user thread requires corresponding kernel thread limiting the number of total threads Used in LinuxThreads and other systems like Windows 2000,Windows NT




The many-to-many model multiplexes many user-level threads to a smaller or equal number of kernel threads. Advantages: Can create as many user thread as necessary Allows parallelism Disadvantages: kernel thread can the burden the performance Used in the Solaris implementation of Pthreads (and several other Unix implementations)?

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