On the Design and Implementation of an Efficient Lock-Free Scheduler

  • Florian Negele
  • Felix Friedrich
  • Suwon Oh
  • Bernhard Egger
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10353)


Schedulers for symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) machines use sophisticated algorithms to schedule processes onto the available processor cores. Hardware-dependent code and the use of locks to protect shared data structures from simultaneous access lead to poor portability, the difficulty to prove correctness, and a myriad of problems associated with locking such as limiting the available parallelism, deadlocks, starvation, interrupt handling, and so on. In this work we explore what can be achieved in terms of portability and simplicity in an SMP scheduler that achieves similar performance to state-of-the-art schedulers. By strictly limiting ourselves to only lock-free data structures in the scheduler, the problems associated with locking vanish altogether. We show that by employing implicit cooperative scheduling, additional guarantees can be made that allow novel and very efficient implementations of memory-efficient unbounded lock-free queues. Cooperative multitasking has the additional benefit that it provides an extensive hardware independence. It even allows the scheduler to be used as a runtime library for applications running on top of standard operating systems. In a comparison against Windows Server and Linux running on up to 64 cores we analyze the performance of the lock-free scheduler and show that it matches or even outperforms the performance of these two state-of-the-art schedulers in a variety of benchmarks.


Lock-free scheduling Cooperative multitasking Run-time environments Multicore architectures 



This work was supported, in part, by grant IZKSZ2_162084 from the Swiss National Science Foundation, by BK21 Plus for Pioneers in Innovative Computing (Dept. of Computer Science and Engineering, SNU) funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea (Grant 21A20151113068), the Basic Science Research Program through NRF funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (Grant NRF-2015K1A3A1A14021288), and by the Promising-Pioneering Researcher Program through Seoul National University in 2015. ICT at Seoul National University provided research facilities for this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Negele
    • 1
  • Felix Friedrich
    • 1
  • Suwon Oh
    • 2
  • Bernhard Egger
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceETH ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science and EngineeringSeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea

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