Report Number: CS-TR-80-850
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Performing remote operations efficiently on a local computer network
Author: Spector, Alfred Z .
Date: December 1980
Abstract: This paper presents a communication model for local networks, whereby processes execute generalized remote references that cause operations to be performed by remote processes. This remote reference/remote operation model provides a taxonomy of primitives that (1) are naturally useful in many applications and (2) can be efficiently implemented. The motivation for this work is our desire to develop systems architectures for local network based multiprocessors that support distributed applications requiring frequent interprocessor communication. After a section containing a brief overview, Section 2 of this paper discusses the remote reference/remote operation model. In it, we derive a set of remote reference types that can be supported by a communication system carefully integrated with the local network interface. The third section exemplifies a communication system that provides one remote reference type. These references (i.e., remote load, store, compare-and-swap, enqueue, and dequeue) take about 150 microseconds, or 50 average instruction times, to perform on Xerox Alto computers connected by a 2.94 megabit Ethernet. The last section summarizes this work and proposes a complete implementation resulting in a highly efficient communication system.