The pursuit of better and better performance2022-02-09
The digitalisation of society has led to a constant pursuit of better performance. Through a new research project, Computer Science at Karlstad University wants to help speed up the process.
Waiting for changes in the major operating systems Linux and Windows is time-consuming. Research is now turning to new technologies that enable ways of getting around this issue.
- By running parts of the applications directly in the kernel, we can bypass several layers of abstractions, says Tobias Pulls, Docent in Computer Science at Karlstad University. This method offers improvements in both performance and flexibility.
An increasingly popular technology is the Berkeley Packet Filter (BFP), which is used for creating restricted programs that run as part of, for example, the Linux kernel. The result is a hybrid model for applications that do not normally run in the kernel. The research project “Security and safety of Linux systems in a BPF-powered hybrid user space/kernel world” – a collaboration with the company Red Hat – will help increase the security of technologies like BPF.
- Programmable network solutions that use BPF enable us to use parts of the application logic in the kernel space, says Professor Anna Brunström. This is a promising development with many opportunities, but also opens for new interesting challenges in the field of security. We have three exciting years ahead of us working in the project together with the technology experts from Red Hat.
Challenges in the project
- There are many challenges, says Tobias Pulls. One is that applications written in BPF are very restricted to make them more secure. Running any code in the kernel is extremely risky so it must be done with caution. At the same time, there is a wish to use BPF for many different things thanks to the flexibility it offers.
Strengthens Karlstad University
- Our research has a strong connection to the ICT industry internationally and I am very happy about the opportunity to expand our work on programmable networks to the field of cyber security, says Anna Brunström. This will both strengthen our collaboration with Red Hat and create new synergies between our research groups in distributed systems and communications (DISCO) and privacy and security (PriSec).