NSF-Funded Expedition Project Uses AI to Rethink Computer Operating Systems

Visual of a city getting plugged in to computing power

Thanks to a major grant from the U.S. National Science Foundation’s Expeditions in Computing program, Penn Engineering will partner with the University of Texas at Austin and other institutions on research that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to boost the performance and energy efficiency of computer operating systems (OS).

Today’s operating systems pose a significant barrier to a number of promised exciting innovations in computer hardware and applications — from personal assistant robots to autonomous vehicles to edge computing that could enable smart cities and less energy- intensive cloud computing. 

These operating systems often follow “one-size-fits-all” rules for how hardware resources get allocated between different applications running simultaneously. The inflexibility of these rules makes it hard to integrate new advancements, resulting in poor performance and inefficiency, a problem the research team plans to tackle by leveraging AI.

“This project aims to change the way operating systems are developed by allowing the applications, their data, and the overall environment to drive the design of the algorithms and runtime systems that were traditionally hard-coded by OS developers,” says Sebastian Angel, Raj and Neera Singh Assistant Professor in Computer and Information Science at Penn Engineering and co-principal investigator (co-PI) of Penn’s research.  “Our emphasis will be on studying the security and privacy implications of allowing the OS to evolve as applications’ needs change.”

To learn more about Expeditions, please read the full release from the University of Texas here.