Trustworthy Systems

Multiple page size support in the Linux kernel


Simon Winwood, Yefim Shuf and Hubertus Franke

IBM TJ Watson Research Center

School of Computer Science and Engineering
The University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052


The Linux kernel currently supports a single user space page size, usually the minimum dictated by the architecture. This paper describes the ongoing modifications to the Linux kernel to allow applications to vary the size of pages used to map their address spaces and to reap the performance benefits associated with the use of large pages.

The results from our implementation of multiple page size support in the Linux kernel are very encouraging. Namely, we find that the performance improvement of applications written in various modern programming languages range from 10\% to over 35\%. The observed performance improvements are consistent with those reported by other researchers. Considering that memory latencies continue to grow and represent a barrier for achieving scalable performance on faster processors, we argue that multiple page size support is a necessary and important addition to the OS kernel and the Linux kernel in particular.

BibTeX Entry

    address          = {Ottawa, Canada},
    author           = {Simon Winwood and Yefim Shuf and Hubertus Franke},
    booktitle        = {Ottawa Linux Symposium},
    month            = jun,
    paperurl         = {},
    title            = {Multiple Page Size Support in the {Linux} Kernel},
    year             = {2002}