Timer coalescing is a computer system energy-saving technique that reduces central processing unit (CPU) power consumption by reducing the precision of software timers used for synchronization of process wake-ups, minimizing the number of times the CPU is forced to perform the relatively power-costly operation of entering and exiting idle states.
An operating system (OS) is system software that manages computer hardware and software resources, and provides common services for computer programs.
In computer architecture, 64-bit integers, memory addresses, or other data units are those that are 64 bits wide. Also, 64-bit CPUs and ALUs are those that are based on processor registers, address buses, or data buses of that size. A computer that uses such a processor is a 64-bit computer.
x86-64 is a 64-bit version of the x86 instruction set, first released in 1999. It introduced two new modes of operation, 64-bit mode and compatibility mode, along with a new 4-level paging mode.
In software engineering, a compatibility layer is an interface that allows binaries for a legacy or foreign system to run on a host system. This translates system calls for the foreign system into native system calls for the host system. With some libraries for the foreign system, this will often be sufficient to run foreign binaries on the host system. A hardware compatibility layer consists of tools that allow hardware emulation.
In Unix-like operating systems, /dev/random and /dev/urandom are special files that serve as cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generators. They allow access to environmental noise collected from device drivers and other sources. /dev/random typically blocked if there was less entropy available than requested; more recently it usually blocks at startup until sufficient entropy has been gathered, then unblocks permanently. The /dev/urandom device typically was never a blocking device, even if the pseudorandom number generator seed was not fully initialized with entropy since boot. Not all operating systems implement the same methods for /dev/random and /dev/urandom.
UEFI is a set of specifications written by the UEFI Forum. They define the architecture of the platform firmware used for booting and its interface for interaction with the operating system. Examples of firmware that implement these specifications are AMI Aptio, Phoenix SecureCore Tiano, TianoCore EDK II and InsydeH2O.
Signals are standardized messages sent to a running program to trigger specific behavior, such as quitting or error handling. They are a limited form of inter-process communication (IPC), typically used in Unix, Unix-like, and other POSIX-compliant operating systems.
Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) is an open standard that operating systems can use to discover and configure computer hardware components, to perform power management, auto configuration, and status monitoring. First released in December 1996, ACPI aims to replace Advanced Power Management (APM), the MultiProcessor Specification, and the Plug and Play BIOS (PnP) Specification. ACPI brings power management under the control of the operating system, as opposed to the previous BIOS-centric system that relied on platform-specific firmware to determine power management and configuration policies. The specification is central to the Operating System-directed configuration and Power Management (OSPM) system. ACPI defines hardware abstraction interfaces between the device's firmware, the computer hardware components, and the operating systems.
The High Precision Event Timer (HPET) is a hardware timer available in modern x86-compatible personal computers. Compared to older types of timers available in the x86 architecture, HPET allows more efficient processing of highly timing-sensitive applications, such as multimedia playback and OS task switching. It was developed jointly by Intel and Microsoft and has been incorporated in PC chipsets since 2005. Formerly referred to by Intel as a Multimedia Timer, the term HPET was selected to avoid confusion with the software multimedia timers introduced in the MultiMedia Extensions to Windows 3.0.
In computing, Intel's Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) is a family of interrupt controllers. As its name suggests, the APIC is more advanced than Intel's 8259 Programmable Interrupt Controller (PIC), particularly enabling the construction of multiprocessor systems. It is one of several architectural designs intended to solve interrupt routing efficiency issues in multiprocessor computer systems.
In computing and in embedded systems, a programmable interval timer (PIT) is a counter that generates an output signal when it reaches a programmed count. The output signal may trigger an interrupt.
System Management Mode is an operating mode of x86 central processor units (CPUs) in which all normal execution, including the operating system, is suspended. An alternate software system which usually resides in the computer's firmware, or a hardware-assisted debugger, is then executed with high privileges.
A machine check exception (MCE) is a type of computer error that occurs when a problem involving the computer's hardware is detected. With most mass-market personal computers, an MCE indicates faulty or misconfigured hardware.
The Time Stamp Counter (TSC) is a 64-bit register present on all x86 processors since the Pentium. It counts the number of CPU cycles since its reset. The instruction
RDTSC returns the TSC in EDX:EAX. In x86-64 mode,
RDTSC also clears the upper 32 bits of RAX and RDX. Its opcode is
0F 31. Pentium competitors such as the Cyrix 6x86 did not always have a TSC and may consider
RDTSC an illegal instruction. Cyrix included a Time Stamp Counter in their MII.
In computer science and computer programming, system time represents a computer system's notion of the passage of time. In this sense, time also includes the passing of days on the calendar.
Oracle VM VirtualBox is a type-2 hypervisor for x86 virtualization developed by Oracle Corporation. VirtualBox was originally created by InnoTek Systemberatung GmbH, which was acquired by Sun Microsystems in 2008, which was in turn acquired by Oracle in 2010.
Microsoft Hyper-V, codenamed Viridian, and briefly known before its release as Windows Server Virtualization, is a native hypervisor; it can create virtual machines on x86-64 systems running Windows. Starting with Windows 8, Hyper-V superseded Windows Virtual PC as the hardware virtualization component of the client editions of Windows NT. A server computer running Hyper-V can be configured to expose individual virtual machines to one or more networks. Hyper-V was first released with Windows Server 2008, and has been available without additional charge since Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8. A standalone Windows Hyper-V Server is free, but has a command-line interface only. The last version of free Hyper-V Server is Hyper-V Server 2019, which is based on Windows Server 2019.
In the x86 computer architecture,
HLT (halt) is an assembly language instruction which halts the central processing unit (CPU) until the next external interrupt is fired. Interrupts are signals sent by hardware devices to the CPU alerting it that an event occurred to which it should react. For example, hardware timers send interrupts to the CPU at regular intervals.
Meltdown is one of the two original transient execution CPU vulnerabilities. Meltdown affects Intel x86 microprocessors, IBM POWER processors, and some ARM-based microprocessors. It allows a rogue process to read all memory, even when it is not authorized to do so.