On improving real-time interrupt latencies of hybrid operating systems with two-level hardware interrupts

Miao Liu, Duo Liu, Yi Wang, Meng Wang, Zili Shao

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we propose to implement hybrid operating systems based on two-level hardware interrupts. We analyze and model the worst-case real-time interrupt latency for RTAI and identify the key component for its optimization. Then, we propose our methodology to implement hybrid operating systems with two-level hardware interrupts by combining the real-time kernel and the time-sharing OS (Operating System) kernel. Based on the methodology, we discuss the important issues for the implementation. Finally, we implement a hybrid system called RTLinux-THIN (Real-Time LINUX with Two-level Hardware INterrupts) on the ARM architecture by combining ARM Linux kernel 2.6.9 and murm C/OS-rm II}. We conduct experiments on a set of real application programs including mplayer, Bonnie, and iperf, and compare the interrupt latency and interrupt task distributions for RTLinux-THIN (with and without cache locking), RTAI, Linux, and Linux with RT patch on a hardware platform based on Intel PXA270 processor. The results show that our scheme not only provides an easy method for implementing hybrid systems but also achieves the performance improvement for both the time-sharing and real-time subsystems.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5483285
Pages (from-to)978-991
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Computers
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2011


  • Hybrid operating systems
  • Linux
  • real-time interrupt latency
  • RTAI
  • two-level hardware interrupts.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics

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