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Hello. Has any of the development team heard of Barrelfish OS? It seems to have similar goals as SpatialOS. It’s an academic research project. It’s MIT licensed.

Could this be used to improve SpatialOS?


Hi @EricMacEachern!

Nice starting point for a discussion and a good link! :relaxed:

For my part I have definitely heard of Barrelfish OS having worked on many-core architectures and their compiler optimizations before and there is actually someone here at Improbable who is in the publication list on the Barrelfish website. There are a lot of similarities in the types of challenges that SpatialOS and Barrelfish have to address. However, from my perspective, they do not focus on the same kind of use-cases and underlying scope (even if you can find some overlaps for sure).

Barrelfish is much more targeted at multi-core systems whereas SpatialOS is focused on distributed systems in the cloud-computing sense. This is not to say that techniques used by either side cannot be used by the other but things such as latency, scheduling and coherency do not necessarily take on the same form and will have different priorities. Another big point here is the “spatial” character of the applications of SpatialOS: it specifically targets use-cases where the underlying computations exhibit a strong spatial locality characteristic and it uses this assumption in the design choices that are made for the system.

All that said I do agree that there are some interesting possibilities, as you suggest, in combining SpatialOS and Barrelfish in a yet-to-be-determined way, or at least the reuse of the more general concept of low-overhead kernels such as Barrelfish & Exokernel.

What’s your experience with Barrelfish? Did you just happen to read about it or do you have some personal knowledge of its usage? :slight_smile:

Best regards,


Thank you for the reply.

I just found out about Barrelfish when studying operating systems. I don’t have any personal knowledge of it.