The keynote will be delivered by Hermann Härtig, the leader of the FFMK project.

Hermann Härtig

Chair of Operating Systems
TU Dresden, Germany

Title: Building Blocks for an Exa-Scale Operating System


Currently, high performance systems are mostly used by splitting them into fixed-size partitions which are completely owned and operated by applications. Hardware architecture designs strive to remove the operating system from the critical path, for example using techniques such as RDMA and busy waiting for synchronisation. Operating system functionality is restricted to batch schedulers that load and start applications and to I/O. Applications take over traditional operating system functionality such as balancing load over resources.

In exa-scale computing, new challenges and opportunities may put an end to that mode of operation. These developments include applications too complex and too dynamic to do application-level balancing and hardware too diverse to maintain an application-level view of a fixed number of reliable and predictable resources. The talk will discuss examples of operating system building blocks at various system levels that may receive new appreciation in exa-scale supercomputing. These building blocks include schedulers, microkernels, library OSes, virtualization, execution time predictors and gossip algorithms that need to be combined into a coherent architecture.


Hermann Härtig has received his Diplom and PhD from University of Karlsruhe. He then moved on to GMD (former German National Research Center for Computer Science) to lead the development of an operating system for environments with high security and reliability requirements. Since 1994 he holds the operating systems chair at TU Dresden. The main research focus of his group is in systems that are split into critical parts running on a small microkernel and less critical ones that are using virtualized Linux. This approach includes real-time systems, where the critical parts are small real-time applications cores, and high-security systems, where the critical parts are small trusted computing bases.

He now leads FFMK, a project for building a “Fast and Fault-Tolerant Microkernel based operating system” in the context of DFG’s German Priority Program “Software for Exa-Scale Computing”.