JEOPARD spotted for leveraging multi-core chips

Java Environment for Parallel Real-time Development project to build a framework for Java-based, real-time apps on modern multi-core chips and parallel processor systems

Looking to get the most out of multi-core processors, a European-driven effort to build a framework for Java-based, real-time applications on modern multi-core chips and parallel processor systems is being announced Tuesday.

Called the Java Environment for Parallel Real-time Development, or JEOPARD, the project is being underwritten by the European Commission (EC) to the tune of more than US$4.9 million (3.3 million Euros), said The Open Group, which is participating in the project.

The objective is to provide tools for platform-independent development of predictable systems that make use of symmetric multiprocessing multi-core platforms and field programmable gate array components, Open Group said. Tools plan would enhance software productivity and reusability by extending processor technology established on desktop systems for the needs of multi-core embedded systems.

"If you go out and buy a laptop or server, you get four-core processors or whatever. The way people program both applications and OSes hasn't really taken full advantage of the capabilities of these multi-core processors," said Dave Lounsbury, vice president for government services at The Open Group. "This is a hot topic. I think everybody recognizes there are some limitations right now," in making use of multi-core systems, he said.

JEOPARD will research how to build APIs, OS extensions and language support for multi-core processors, with a special emphasis on embedded systems, Lounsbury said.

The project will delve into extensions to handle different memory configurations. Situations will be considered in which there is not full symmetry, such as when a processor cannot access all parts of memory or chips are not using the same clock, said Lounsbury. These considerations are important because of constraints in memory bandwidth. Languages and operating systems can perform optimizations to address this.

"The idea here is that we'll see the creation of new sets of tools, whether it's extensions to OSes or new sets of compilers or languages like Java that will bring some of these new capabilities," Lounsbury said.

While the project is based around Java, concepts from it could be made to work in other environments, he said. Asked when there might be results from JEOPARD, Lounsbury said the effort is a three-year EC program.

Chip vendors could be expected to look closely at the project and incorporate results into their next generations of chips.

Contributions from JEOPARD will be to be made to the RTSJ (Real-Time Specification for Java), which focuses on development of portable software in the multi-core embedded space, The Open Group said. Also, JEOPARD will feature development of a platform-independent software development interface for real-time multi-core systems based on RTSJ and Safety-Critical Java. RTSJ is the subject of Java Specification Requests 1 and 282 in the Java Community Process, while Safety-Critical Java is covered in JSR 302.

Also participating in JEOPARD are the University of York, FZI, Vienna University of Technology, and the Technical University of Cluj-Napoca. Other participants include industrial manufacturers EADS, RadioLabs, and SkySoft and two embedded systems technology suppliers, aicas and Sysgo.

In another effort pertaining to development for multi-core chips, RapidMind in November announced RapidMind Multi-core Development Platform v.30, which seeks to help developers build for these processors.

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