Episode 204: Anil Madhavapeddy on the Mirage Cloud Operating System and the OCaml Language

Filed in Episodes by on May 30, 2014 4 Comments
Anil Madhavapeddy

Anil Madhavapeddy

Robert talks to Dr. Anil Madhavapeddy of the Cambridge University (UK) Systems research group about the OCaml language and the Mirage cloud operating system, a microkernel written entirely in OCaml. The outline includes: history of the evolution from dedicated servers running a monolithic operating system to virutalized servers based on the Xen hypervisor to micro-kernels; the differences between monolithic kernels, exokernels and micro-kernels; recent innovations that have allowed micro-kernels to overcome performance problems; performance of micro-kernels compared to a Linux server running a daemon for simple services like DNS and HTTP; security of micro-kernels; the history of the OCaml language;  how the functional programming and the  OCaml type system supports the design goals of the Mirage micro-kernel; how the Mirage team decided on OCaml as the implementation language for their project; the reconception of the toolchain that has Mirage kernels and compiled and managed via github; the possibility of using other popular web programming languages within Mirage;  high-bandwidth networking abstractions in OCaml over Xen memory rings; and micro-kernels in the browser and peripheral devices.  They wrap up with a discussion of Anil’s recent book on OCaml.

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