Published In

Proceedings Multimedia Computing and Networking 1998

Document Type


Publication Date



Multimedia systems - Design, Streaming technology (Telecommunications), Adaptive computing systems


Device independent I/O has been a holy grail to operating system designers since the early days of UNIX. Unfortunately, existing operating systems fall short of this goal for multimedia applications. Techniques such as caching and sequential read-ahead can help mask I/O latency in some cases, but in others they increase latency and add substantial jitter. Multimedia applications, such as video players, are sensitive to vagaries in performance since I/O latency and jitter affect the quality of presentation. Our solution uses adaptive prefetching to reduce both latency and jitter. Applications submit file access plans to the prefetcher, which then generates I/O requests to the operating system and manages the buffer cache to isolate the application from variations in device performance. Our experiments show device independence can be achieved: an MPEG video player sees the same latency when reading from a local disk or an NFS server. Moreover, our approach reduces jitter substantially.


Copyright 1997 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic electronic or print reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited. doi:10.1117/12.298416

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