DATE: Thursday, September 18, 2014
TIME: Noon - 1:00 pm
PLACE: GHC 8102 - Note location

SPEAKER: Ardalan Amiri Sani, Rice University

TITLE: Rethinking System Support for I/O Devices

Computer systems are adopting more and more I/O devices, including accelerators and sensors. Accelerators provide high performance and energy efficiency via specialized hardware. Sensors on a mobile system enable it to interact with the physical world in novel ways. Towards unlocking the full potentials of I/O devices, we envision that the system must provide two important properties: (i) unified interface for accessing any device either natively or from across the machine boundaries, and (ii) security guarantees both for the system accessing the device and for the system hosting it. These two properties can empower important use cases such as I/O virtualization in data centers and I/O sharing between mobile systems of a user.

In this talk, we present our first steps towards achieving these properties. We briefly discuss Paradice and Rio, two systems that respectively virtualize and share I/O devices at the Unix device file interface. We then focus on library drivers, a novel driver architecture that reduces the size and attack surface of the driver Trusted Computing Base (TCB) and hence significantly improves the system security.

Ardalan Amiri Sani is a Ph.D. candidate at Rice University. He works on low-level system software with a focus on new hardware devices appearing in modern computers from mobile systems to data centers. His work on I/O sharing between mobile systems received the MobiSys'14 Best Paper Award. His work on I/O virtualization is open source and available at

Ardalan received his B.Sc. from Sharif University. He was an intern with Microsoft Research at Redmond. He chaired and served at ACM S3 and ACM MobiSys PhD Forum workshops.

VISITOR HOST: M. Satyanarayanan
VISITOR COORDINATOR: Chase Klingensmith, 8-3041,

Karen Lindenfelser, 86716, or visit