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Popcorn Linux research showcased at the Pentagon

The ECE Popcorn Linux Team standing with two ONR Program Officers. From left to right: ONR Program Officer J. Sukarno Mertoguno, ECE Professor Binoy Ravindran, Ph.D. candidates and former Bradley Fellows Rob Lyerly and Chris Jelesnianski, ECE Research Assistant Professor Antonio Barbalace, and ONR Program Officer Ryan Craven.
The ECE Popcorn Linux Team standing with two ONR Program Officers. From left to right: ONR Program Officer J. Sukarno Mertoguno, ECE Professor Binoy Ravindran, Ph.D. candidates and former Bradley Fellows Rob Lyerly and Chris Jelesnianski, ECE Research Assistant Professor Antonio Barbalace, and ONR Program Officer Ryan Craven.

The ECE Popcorn Linux team presented their work at the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Project Showcase at the Pentagon on June 24. The ONR commemorated its 70th anniversary by highlighting and celebrating some of the cutting-edge research it supports across the country.

Popcorn Linux is an ONR-funded Operating System project started at Virginia Tech four years ago to address the growing heterogeneity in multicore systems. The ubiquity of multicore processors and their increasing heterogeneity may be improving computing speed, but it is making the programming of applications ever more complex and difficult. The Popcorn Linux team, led by ECE Professor Binoy Ravindran, is working to close the growing performance and programmability gap by clustering heterogeneous processors and combining their different strengths.

Incorporating multiple types of processors can yield several advantages, according to Ravindran. "Many applications have diverse computational patterns. By running code components on matching processors, you can boost performance or reduce energy consumption," he said.

The project looks to exploit the advantages of multiple processor types without making the job of application developers more difficult.

According to Ravindran, the Popcorn Linux research was well received by the ONR Program Managers.

"We were the only academic research group invited, which was a great honor," said Ravindran, who said one of the highlights of the ONR event was a visit from the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert O. Work. Work presented the team with a medal embedded with his signature.