Welcome to Popcorn Linux's Website!


  • May 2023
    Popcorn Linux-er Sandeep Errabelly defends his MS thesis and joins Apple. Congratulations and best wishes Sandeep!
  • March 2023
    Popcorn Linux’s aggregate VM is accepted at EuroSys'23! Paper to be available soon.
  • January 2023
    Popcorn Linux’s aggregate VM is conditionally accepted at EuroSys'23.
  • December 2022
    Popcorn Linux-er Abhishek Bapat defends his MS thesis and joins Zoox. Congratulations and best wishes Abhishek!
  • August 2022
    Popcorn Linux’s container re-randomization work is accepted at MTD/CCS'22. Paper is available here.
  • May 2022
    Popcorn Linux hacker Ho-Ren (Jack) Chuang has successfully defended his PhD dissertation (to be available soon). Jack has joined ByteDance in Mountain View, CA. Congratulations and best wishes Dr. Chuang! 
  • March 2022:Popcorn Linux’s container instantiation -- H-Container -- is accepted at ACM TOCS. Paper is available here!
  • February 2022: Popcorn Linux hacker Ashwin Krishnakumar has successfully defended his MS thesis on a guest OS for shared memory heterogeneous-ISA machine (thesis to be available soon) and has joined Apple. Best wishes Ashwin!
  • February 2022: Popcorn Linux hacker Balvansh Heerekar has successfully defended his MEng project on an x86/RISC-V job scheduler (project report is available here) and has joined Splunk. Best wishes Balvansh!
  • February 2022: Popcorn Linux hacker Naarayanan VSathish has successfully defended his MS thesis on FPGA-accelerated distributed shared memory (thesis to be available soon) and has joined Qualcomm. Best wishes Naarayanan!.
  • December 2021: Popcorn's OpenMP run-time system for Intel Xeon-Cavium ThunderX/ARM servers is accepted at ACM TOCS! The TOCS paper extends the Middleware 2020 conference paper to handle irregular workloads. The paper is available here.
  • November 2021: Popcorn Linux's (first) extension to FPGAs will appear at Middleware 2021. Paper with two ACM artifact badges -- ACM Artifacts Evaluated - Functional, ACM Artifacts Available  -- is available here! Full version of the paper is available as an arXiv report.

The Popcorn Linux project is exploring how to improve the programmability of emerging heterogeneous hardware, in particular, those with Instruction Set Architecture (ISA)-diverse cores, from node-scale (e.g., Xeon/Xeon-Phi, ARM/x86, CPU/GPU/FPGAs) to rack-scale (e.g., Scale-out processors, Firebox, The Machine), in both native and virtualized settings.  Additionally, the project is exploring how to automatically compile/synthesize/execute code on ISA-heterogeneous hardware.

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The project is exploring a replicated-kernel OS model for the Linux operating system. In this model, multiple Linux kernel instances running on multiple nodes collaborate each other to provide applications with a single-image operating system over the nodes. The kernels transparently provide a consistent memory view across the machine boundary, so threads in a process can be spread across the nodes without an explicit declaration of memory regions to share nor accessing through a custom memory APIs. The nodes are connected through a modern low-latency interconnect, and each of them might be based on different ISA and/or hardware configuration. In this way, Popcorn Linux utilizes the ISA-affinity in applications and scale out the system performance beyond a single system performance while retaining full POSIX compatibility.

Popcorn Linux uses an LLVM-based customized compiler that translates C/C++ applications into machine code suitable for execution and runtime migration across multiple instruction set architectures.  The compiler generates machine code for each target ISA on which Popcorn Linux runs and instruments the code with migration points.  The linker aligns global data, code and thread-local storage to be available at identical locations across all ISAs.  A run-time system translates a program's execution state (e.g., runtime stack and registers) at migration time between ISA-specific formats based on metadata generated by the compiler. 

The native version of Popcorn Linux targets execution and runtime migration of native application across multiple ISA. Concerning the ongoing virtualization effort, Popcorn Xen, it focuses on Unikernels: minimal small sized-guests where a single application is statically compiled with a small OS layer in a LibOS fashion.


Popcorn Linux is an open-source project of the Systems Software Research Group at Virginia Tech.


This work is supported in part by ONR under grants N00014-13-1-0317, N00014-16-1-2104, and N00014-16-1-2711, AFOSR under grants FA9550-14-1-0163 and FA9550-16-1-0371, NAVSEA/NEEC under grants 3003279297 and N00174-16-C-0018, and US Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division under grant N00174-20-1-0009. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this site are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of ONR, AFOSR, and NAVSEA.