Gernot Heiser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Gernot Heiser
Gernot Heiser.jpg
Gernot Heiser
Born1957 (age 63–64)
NationalityGerman, Australian
Known forOperating Systems teaching, research and commercialisation
AwardsACM Fellow (2014)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of New South Wales (Scientia Professor and John Lions Chair of Operating Systems)
NICTA (research group leader)
Open Kernel Labs (Founder and former CTO and Director)

Gernot Heiser (born 1957) is a Scientia Professor and the John Lions Chair for operating systems at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). He is also leader of the Software Systems Research Group (SSRG) at NICTA. In 2006 he co-founded Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs, acquired in 2012 by General Dynamics) to commercialise his L4 microkernel technology.


Gernot Heiser was born in 1957. He studied physics at the German University of Freiburg, where he earned his BSc, went on to earn his MSc at the Canadian Brock University, and his PhD at the Swiss ETH Zurich.


Heiser's research focuses on microkernels and microkernel-based systems as well as virtual machines, with a specific emphasis on performance and reliability.

His group produced the Mungi single address space operating system,[1] aimed at clusters of 64-bit computers, and implementations of the L4 microkernel with very fast inter-process communication.[2] His Gelato@UNSW team was a founding member of the Gelato Federation, and focused on performance and scalability of Linux on Itanium. They established theoretical and practical performance limits of message-passing IPC on Itanium.[3]

Since joining NICTA at its creation in 2002, his research shifted away from high-end computing platforms towards embedded systems, with the specific aim of improving security, safety and reliability via the use of microkernel technology.[4] This led to the development of a new microkernel called seL4, and its formal verification, claimed to be the first-ever complete proof of the functional correctness of a general-purpose OS kernel.[5]

His work on virtualization was motivated by the need to provide a complete OS environment on his microkernels. His Wombat project followed the approach taken with the L4Linux project at Dresden, but was a multi-architecture paravirtualized Linux running on x86, ARM and MIPS hardware. The Wombat work later formed the basis for the OKL4 hypervisor of his company Open Kernel Labs.

The desire to reduce the engineering effort of paravirtualization led to the development of the soft layering approach of automated paravirtulization which was demonstrated on x86 and Itanium hardware.[6] His vNUMA work demonstrated a hypervisor which presents a distributed system as a shared-memory multiprocessor as a possible model for many-core chips with large numbers of processor cores.[7]

Device drivers are another focus of his work, including the first demonstration of user-mode drivers with a performance overhead of less than 10%,[8] an approach to driver development that eliminates the majority of typical driver bugs by design,[9] device drivers produced from device test benches,[10] and a demonstration of the feasibility of the automatic generation of device drivers from formal specifications.[11] Recent research also includes power management.[12]

In the past he also worked on semiconductor device simulation, where he pioneered the use of multi-dimensional modeling in the optimisation of silicon-based solar cells.[13]

Operating system projects[edit]



Publications of Note[edit]

  1. ^ Heiser, Gernot; Elphinstone, Kevin; Vochteloo, Jerry; Russell, Stephen; Liedtke, Jochen (1998). "The Mungi Single-Address-Space Operating System". Software: Practice and Experience. 28 (9): 901–928. CiteSeerX doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-024X(19980725)28:9<901::AID-SPE181>3.0.CO;2-7.
  2. ^ Liedtke, Jochen; Elphinstone, Kevin; Schönberg, Sebastian; Härtig, Hermann; Heiser, Gernot; Islam, Nayeem; Jaeger, Trent (May 1997). "Achieved IPC performance (still the foundation for extensibility)". 6th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems. Cape Cod, MA, USA: IEEE. pp. 28–31.
  3. ^ Gray, Charles; Chapman, Matthew; Chubb, Peter; Mosberger-Tang, David; Heiser, Gernot (April 2005). "Itanium — a system implementor's tale". Proceedings of the 2005 USENIX Annual Technical Conference. Anaheim, CA, USA.
  4. ^ Heiser, Gernot; Elphinstone, Kevin; Kuz, Ihor; Klein, Gerwin; Petters, Stefan M. (July 2007). "Towards trustworthy computing systems: Taking microkernels to the next level". ACM Operating Systems Review. 41 (4): 3–11. doi:10.1145/1278901.1278904. S2CID 9036194.
  5. ^ Klein, Gerwin; Elphinstone, Kevin; Heiser, Gernot; Andronick, June; Cock, David; Derrin, Philip; Elkaduwe, Dhammika; Engelhardt, Kai; Kolanski, Rafal; Norrish, Michael; Sewell, Thomas; Tuch, Harvey; Winwood, Simon (October 2009). "seL4: Formal verification of an OS kernel" (PDF). 22nd ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles. Big Sky, MT, USA.
  6. ^ LeVasseur, Joshua; Uhlig, Volkmar; Yang, Yaowei; Chapman, Matthew; Chubb, Peter; Leslie, Ben; Heiser, Gernot (August 2008). "Pre-virtualization: Soft layering for virtual machines". 13th IEEE Asia-Pacific Computer Systems Architecture Conference. Hsinchu, Taiwan.
  7. ^ Chapman, Matthew; Heiser, Gernot (June 2009). "vNUMA: A virtual shared-memory multiprocessor". USENIX Annual Technical Conference. San Diego, CA, USA.
  8. ^ Leslie, Ben; Chubb, Peter; Fitzroy-Dale, Nicholas; Götz, Stefan; Gray, Charles; Macpherson, Luke; Potts, Daniel; Shen, Yueting (Rita); Elphinstone, Kevin; Heiser, Gernot (September 2005). "User-level device drivers: Achieved performance". Journal of Computer Science and Technology. 20 (5): 654–664. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s11390-005-0654-4. S2CID 1121537.
  9. ^ Ryzhyk, Leonid; Chubb, Peter; Kuz, Ihor; Heiser, Gernot (April 2009). "Dingo: Taming device drivers". 4th EuroSys Conference. Nuremberg, Germany.
  10. ^ Ryzhyk, Leonid; Keys, John; Mirla, Balachandra; Raghunath, Arun; Vij, Mona; Heiser, Gernot (March 2011). "Improved device driver reliability through hardware verification reuse". 16th International Conference on Architectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating Systems. Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  11. ^ Ryzhyk, Leonid; Chubb, Peter; Kuz, Ihor; Le Sueur, Etienne; Heiser, Gernot (October 2009). "Automatic device driver synthesis with Termite" (PDF). 22nd ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles. Big Sky, MT, USA.
  12. ^ Snowdon, David C.; Le Sueur, Etienne; Petters, Stefan M.; Heiser, Gernot (April 2009). "Koala: A platform for OS-level power management". 4th EuroSys Conference. Nuremberg, Germany.
  13. ^ Aberle, Armin G; Altermatt, Pietro P.; Heiser, Gernot; Robinson, Stephen J.; Wang, Aihua; Zhao, Jianhua; Krumbein, Ulrich; Green, Martin A. (1995). "Limiting loss mechanisms in 23-percent efficient silicon solar cells". Journal of Applied Physics. 77 (7): 3491–3504. doi:10.1063/1.358643.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ ACS ICT Researcher of the Year 2015
  16. ^ GERNOT HEISER ACM Fellows 2014

External links[edit]