[Barrelfish-users] Projects in Barrelfish for a bachelor's thesis FS2016

Mickey Vänskä mickeyv at student.ethz.ch
Thu Jul 9 14:24:43 CEST 2015

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Cheers everyone,

I am a bachelor's student in the 4th semester and to prepare better for the
upcoming bachelor thesis and find a suitable schedule for the next year I wanted
to ask around in groups/projects I find interesting. Barrelfish is pretty much
at the top of my list and so I am asking around here first.

I am very passionate about a whole collection of IT topics but operating
systems, although usually of mind-boggling complexity are a very central and
present topic for me. I am mostly interested in how software talks and directs
hardware and the other way around (how hardware dictates software and can help
it out via specialized circuitry like AES-accelerators, DMA and vectors to name
a few, in increasing performance and thereby using the machine more
efficiently). So yeah, I think barrelfish has a lot of my interests covered and
I am quite intrigued by it. Compared to the Linux kernel it does a lot of things
differently and getting to know new approaches can help in finding an
alternative solution to a problem. I already had an extensive meeting with
Zaheer and he suggested me to write and ask about your weekly meeting such that
I can ask around in person and get to know you guys.
I was thinking something along the lines of memory and caches would be
interesting and would make for interesting questions. Just yesterday was the
talk on memory protection by Mathias Peyer and it was quite good as it combines
nicely with my interests to "hack" machines. In the long run I would be
interested in a secure operating system that gives me certain guarantees to
counter even advanced threats efficiently without major overhead including on
the level of hardware access but this is a very long path and not of major
relevance right now.

This is what I have been thinking about most but I am open to other ideas and
"need to do's" in Barrelfish which would fulfill the requirements for a
bachelor's thesis in approximatly FS2016.

Thus far I have already tested out barrelfish a bit and looked at the code.
Curiously the code I looked at was either written in prolog or bash (customising
the install dialog a bit to allow installation on PAX-enabled Linux systems by
turning off MPROTECT on the binary). To make myself more accustomed to
barrelfish I wanted to ask where the most current up to date documentation is
for both, a user of barrelfish and a developer for barrelfish (In short "What
does barrelfish do?" and "How is the behaviour/'what' implemented?").

Thanks a lot for your time and I hope to hear from you guys soon.

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