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Multicore with Virtualization for SmartPhones

eMuCo (Embedded Multi-Core Processing for Mobile Communications) is a project aimed at opening the door to the next generation of smart phones by bringing the power of multicore and virtualization to mobile phones. eMuCo started as a European initiative of universities and companies in the mobile embedded market to explore the principles, suitability, and commercialization feasibility of mobile multicore and virtualization as solution to provide higher computational performance and flexibility, while still keeping low-power consumption. The proposal was supported by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research and technological development with 2.9-million euros, and successfully carried out by the consortium and coordinated by Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany.

Multicore has already alighted on the PC market, bringing more performance with less power through parallelization, and virtualization isolates the software from the underlying hardware so that there is no direct access and control from the software to the hardware. “Today's smartphone users want to download applications and individually customize their phones according to their needs and preferences,” said Attila Bilgic, co-coordinator of the eMuCo project, “Protection of personal data and basic systems against viruses and malicious code can be prevented through virtualization.”

As one of the outputs of the project, the eMuCo software platform enables efficient usage of multiple cores on mobile embedded computing devices by using virtualization techniques. It was released as open source on June 8, 2010. The platform is based on a small operating system kernel accompanied with various operating system components allowing manifold usage scenarios. “The system opens access to the latest embedded multicore architectures, offering efficient programming and processing of a broad range of different applications, ranging from special purpose applications such as protocol implementation to whole virtualized commodity operating systems,” said Adam Lackorzynski operating system architect.

According to Maria Elizabeth Gonzalez co-coordinator of eMuCo project, “It is expected that the emerging multicore and virtualization technology [will] revolutionize how a mobile phone will be perceived, and opens new business models in the telecommunication market.”

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