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ICSA COLLOQUIUM TALK - Tim Harris- Oracle Labs, Cambridge

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Talk and presentation from Tim Harris. Title: Rethinking the stack for distributed runtime systems

  • Colloquium Series
When May 09, 2013
from 02:00 PM to 03:00 PM
Where I.F.- Room 4.31/4.33
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Cluster computing is becoming increasingly important because the size of workloads continues to grow faster than the size of individual machines. In this talk I will argue that:

* The resource demands of emerging workloads (e.g., distributyed Graph analytics) look different from software traditionally deployed on clusters (HPC and distributed/replicated servers).

* With jobs spanning multiple machines, no individual system is in control of traditional OS functions such as scheduling and resource management. This leads to poor interactions (e.g., where cluster-wide scheduling of jobs to machines is unaware of the exact load on individual machines) and wasted resources (e.g., if machines or VMs are statically assigned, but resources go unused).

I will describe some of the trends I am seeing, and research directions I am exploring in the design of distributed runtime systems. This is an informal work-in-progress talk - feedback very welcome.


I have recently joined Oracle Labs in Cambridge, UK. My research interests span multiple layers of the stack. I am particularly interested in parallel programming, OS / runtime-system interaction, and opportunities for specialized architecture support for particular workloads.

Prior to Oracle, my recent projects have included language support for asynchronous message passing in the Barrelfish research OS, and ideas for architecture support for parts of language runtime systems (e.g., synchronization and GC). I have also worked extensively on transactional memory (TM), most recently on applying ideas learnt from STM systems to designing an abstraction for low-cost multi-word atomic updates for use in building shared-memory data structures. I was on the faculty of the University of Cambridge, and completed a PhD on providing application programmers with safe control over low-level features of the JVM (dynamic complication, object placement, thread scheduling).


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