Stackless preemptive multi-threading for TinyOS

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Distributed Computing in Sensor Systems and Workshops (DCOSS), 2011 International Conference, Barcelona


Programming support for multi-threaded applications on embedded microcontroller platforms has attracted a considerable amount of research attention in the recent years. This paper is focused on this problem, and presents UnStacked C, a source-to-source transformation that can translate multithreaded programs into stackless continuations. The transformation can support legacy code by not requiring any changes to application code, and only modifications to the underlying threading library. We describe the details of UnStacked C in the context of the TinyOS operating system for wireless sensor network applications. We present a modified implementation of the TOSThreads library for TinyOS, and show how existing applications programmed using TOSThreads can be automatically transformed to use stackless threads with only modifications in the build process. By eliminating the need to allocate individual thread stacks and by supporting lazy thread preemption, UnStacked C enables a considerable saving of memory used and power consumed, respectively.