Opening the Box: Diagnosing Operating-System Task-Scheduler Behavior on Highly Multicore Machines

An operating system task scheduler is responsible for placing tasks on cores and for selecting which task is allowed to run, at what time. As such, the scheduler is a critical component of any operating system and has a major impact on application performance. Still, scheduling decisions are buried deep within the operating system code, making it challenging to diagnose performance problems (or even performance improvements) to determine whether the scheduler is responsible and, if so, in what way. These challenges are compounded for highly multithreaded applications, running on large multicore machines, due to the huge amount of information available.

In this talk, we present some tools that we have developed for visualizing the behavior of the Linux kernel task scheduler, and illustrate how these tools can be used to help diagnose performance problems. The tools presented are freely available at


Julia Lawall

Senior Scientist @INRIA

Julia Lawall is a senior researcher at Inria Paris. Prior to joining Inria, she completed a PhD at Indiana University and was on the faculty at the University of Copenhagen. Her work focuses on issues around the correctness and performance of operating systems. She develops and maintains the Coccinelle program transformation system that has been extensively used on Linux kernel code, and has recently begun investigating the performance impact of the Linux kernel scheduler, as well as exploring formal verification of scheduler properties.

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Monday Apr 8 / 11:45AM BST ( 50 minutes )


Windsor (5th Fl.)


Linux kernel scheduling visualization performance


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