Multithreading (computer Architecture) - Implementation Specifics

Implementation Specifics

A major area of research is the thread scheduler which must quickly choose among the list of ready-to-run threads to execute next as well as maintain the ready-to-run and stalled thread lists. An important sub-topic is the different thread priority schemes that can be used by the scheduler. The thread scheduler might be implemented totally in software or totally in hardware or as a hw/sw combination.

Another area of research is what type of events should cause a thread switch - cache misses, inter-thread communication, DMA completion, etc.

If the multithreading scheme replicates all software visible state, include privileged control registers, TLBs, etc., then it enables virtual machines to be created for each thread. This allows each thread to run its own operating system on the same processor. On the other hand, if only user-mode state is saved, less hardware is required which would allow for more threads to be active at one time for the same die-area/cost.

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