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Porting the Kitten Lightweight Kernel Operating System to RISC-V
DescriptionHardware design in high-performance computing (HPC) is often highly experimental. Exploring new designs is difficult and time-consuming, requiring lengthy vendor cooperation. RISC-V is an open-source processor ISA that improves the accessibility of chip design, including the ability to do hardware/software co-design using open-source hardware and tools. Conventional operating systems like Linux are massively complex and modification is time-prohibitive. In this paper, we describe our port of the Kitten lightweight kernel operating system to RISC-V in order to provide an alternative to Linux for conducting co-design research. Kitten’s small code base and simple resource management policies are well matched for quickly exploring new hardware ideas that may require radical operating system modifications and restructuring. Our evaluation shows that Kitten on RISC-V is functional and provides similar performance to Linux for single-core benchmarks. This provides a solid foundation for using Kitten in future co-design research involving RISC-V.