New Patent Recognizes QNX Innovation in Multi-Core Software Technology


News at a Glance...

  • QNX awarded U.S. patent in symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).
  • Invention eliminates multi-core performance issues imposed by conventional forms of SMP.
  • Leverages modular architecture of the QNX Neutrino microkernel RTOS.
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    OTTAWA, October 3, 2006 - QNX Software Systems, the leading innovator in software solutions for multi-core processors, today announced that it has secured a U.S. patent for its groundbreaking approach to symmetric multiprocessing (SMP).

    Designed for the QNX® Neutrino® microkernel RTOS, the technology covered by the new patent significantly improves the performance, reliability, and efficiency of both multi-core and multiprocessor systems.

    “QNX pioneered the use of SMP for embedded systems and this patent confirms our undisputed leadership in multi-core software technology,” said Dan Dodge, CEO, QNX Software Systems. “Our patented approach to SMP not only gives QNX customers a distinct performance advantage, but also underscores the unique capabilities of the QNX Neutrino RTOS. As the industry’s only true microkernel, QNX Neutrino allowed us to implement an innovative and highly efficient SMP implementation that overcomes the drawbacks of traditional approaches and realizes the true potential of multi-core hardware.”

    Traditionally, SMP has been implemented in large, complex, monolithic operating systems. These OSs require numerous modifications to support SMP, resulting in bloated code and suboptimal performance. In comparison, the QNX Neutrino microkernel is small and preemptible, allowing the patented SMP technology to be implemented in just a few kilobytes of code. The result is remarkably fast, lean, and reliable SMP.

    “A mature SMP implementation is absolutely key to realizing the performance benefits of multi-core processors,” said Mark Roberts, director of product management at QNX Software Systems. “This patent, combined with our twenty-year history in high-performance multiprocessor systems, allows us to deliver multi-core performance that goes far beyond that of our competitors. In fact, most other RTOS vendors are still struggling to develop their multi-core capabilities.”

    In an SMP system, multiple processors or processing cores share a common operating system and memory. Because a single OS manages the entire system, the OS can transparently coordinate shared hardware resources and help ensure that each processing core is utilized to the fullest. The net result: superior performance for an array of applications, including networking equipment, industrial control systems, medical instrumentation, and even next-generation in-car infotainment units.

    Besides SMP, QNX engineers have pioneered bound multiprocessing (BMP), an innovative multiprocessing model that combines the performance and transparent scalability of SMP with simple software migration to multi-core processors. The QNX Neutrino RTOS also supports transparent distributed multiprocessing, which simplifies the design of massive, fault-tolerant clusters and which earned a U.S. patent in 2004.

    QNX Software Systems’ SMP invention has been granted patent number 7,103,631 B1 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    About QNX Software Systems

    QNX Software Systems, a Harman International company (NYSE: HAR), is the industry leader in realtime, embedded OS technology. The component-based architectures of the QNX® Neutrino® RTOS and QNX Momentics® development suite together provide the industry's most reliable and scalable framework for building innovative, high-performance embedded systems. Global leaders such as Cisco, DaimlerChrysler, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, and Siemens depend on QNX technology for network routers, medical instruments, vehicle telematics units, security and defense systems, industrial robotics, and other mission- or life-critical applications. Founded in 1980, QNX Software Systems is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada, and distributes products in over 100 countries worldwide. Visit

    Editorial Contacts

    Paul Leroux
    QNX Software Systems
    +1 613 591-0931

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