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We wish we could do capabilities, but caps break the C model and the C pointer representation, so selling a caps machine seems unlikely. There are subtle difference between the Mill grant-based model and caps, most evident when the argument to the RPC is some kind of linked structure such as a graph. In Mill it’s easy to pass a single node and annoying to pass the whole graph; in caps it’s vice versa.
1) Re task switch: It depends on what you mean by “task”; Mill hardware is below that level and does not dictate the task model. If you mean something heavyweight with accounting quanta and all then yes, the OS must be involved, because the hardware doesn’t do accounting. If you mean something lightweight such as a thread of control then no, the OS doesn’t need to be involved. Our next talk will probably be on threading and will cover this.
2) Re availability: Not yet, though we hope to put the sim on the cloud at some point.
3) Gate count: I have no clue, I’m a software guy. I wouldn’t trust the hardware guys on this either.
4) Turf across cores/chips: Turf works fine across cores in a multicore, although there are the usual atomicity issues in updating the protection info. By design Mill does not extend it’s environment across chips; there’s no interchip shared memory, so there’s no interchip memory protection. Use message passing protocols instead.
5) Core counts: See “Gate count” above.