Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Brylow, Dennis W.

Second Advisor

Johnson, Michael T.

Third Advisor

Corliss, George F.


The difference between emerging many-core architectures and their multi-core predecessors goes beyond just the number of cores incorporated on a chip. Current technologies for maintaining cache coherency are not scalable beyond a few dozen cores, and a lack of coherency presents a new paradigm for software developers to work with. While shared memory multithreading has been a viable and popular programming technique for multi-cores, the distributed nature of many-cores is more amenable to a model of share-nothing, message-passing threads. This model places different demands on a many-core operating system, and this thesis aims to understand and accommodate those demands. We introduce Xipx, a port of the lightweight Embedded Xinu operating system to the many-core Intel Single-chip Cloud Computer (SCC). The SCC is a 48-core x86 architecture that lacks cache coherency. It features a fast mesh network-on-chip (NoC) and on-die "message passing buffers" to facilitate message-passing communications between cores. Running as a separate instance per core, Xipx takes advantage of this hardware in its implementation of a message-passing device. The device multiplexes the message passing hardware, thereby allowing multiple concurrent threads to share the hardware without interfering with each other. Xipx also features a limited framework for transparent thread migration. This achievement required fundamental modifications to the kernel, including incorporation of a new type of thread. Additionally, a minimalistic framework for bare-metal development on the SCC has been produced as a pragmatic offshoot of the work on Xipx. This thesis discusses the design and implementation of the many-core extensions described above. While Xipx serves as a foundation for continued research on many-core operating systems, test results show good performance from both message passing and thread migration suggesting that, as it stands, Xipx is an effective platform for exploration of many-core development at the application level as well.