Light-Weight Contexts: An OS Abstraction for Safety and Performance

Litton, Vahldiek-Oberwagner, Elnikety, Garg, Bhatteracharjee, Druschel (2016)

What kind of paper is this?

The Fairy Tale: Once upon a time processes were the main from of isolation provided by operating systems. Then we started allowing multiple threads of execution within a single process, with all threads able to access all data in a process address space. Over time, we've seen that although threads share an address space, threads also manage data that should be private to the thread. The authors introduce a new isolation mechanism, light-weight contexts (lwC), that provide the ability to support multiple protection domains within a single process. lwC's also enable interesting applications, such as checkpoint/restore. This powerful new abstraction lets programmers and software designers live happily ever after.


The Story


Key Differentiators

What is an lwC?

Usage patterns