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The SPU Filesystem - An Interface to the Cell Broadband Engine

According to the top500.org supercomputer rankings, the US Department of Energy's recent installation, the Roadrunner system, has been classified as the fastest supercomputer of its time. Roadrunner's compute power is based in part on the Cell Broadband Engine Architecture.

The SPU Filesystem (SPUFS) is the component of Linux that provides application access to the unique features of the heterogeneous Cell Broadband Engine Architecture. This presentation explores some of the novel aspects of the architecture, and how each is exposed to Cell applications by the SPU Filesystem.

Because performance is a critical factor in almost all Cell applications, this presentation includes an analysis of some of the performance-critical components of the filesystem, how design choices affect this performance, and techniques for minimising SPUFS overhead in applications.

This will provide developers with helpful information on getting the best performance out of their Cell applications.

I'll also cover some of the current areas of SPUFS development - gang scheduling and asynchronous contexts.

Jeremy Kerr

Jeremy Kerr works for the IBM Linux Technology Center in Canberra ('OzLabs'), as an Linux kernel developer, and is the maintainer of the Cell Broadband Engine's SPU Filesystem module.

Jeremy has contributed to a range of other Open Source projects, such as petitboot (a GUI bootloader), K42 (a research operating system), patchwork (a web-based patch-tracking system) and nfsim (the netfilter simulation environment).

Jeremy's interests lie in operating system kernels, the Cell/B.E. & PowerPC architectures, and networking.