PDL News


December 2004
Outstanding Researchers
Professor David O'Hallaron and Research Engineer Volkan Akcelik have been awarded the Outstanding Research Award for their work on the Quake Project by the College of Engineering in its CIT Faculty Awards for 2004 - 2005. The Quake project is joint effort by the Dept of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Its goal is to develop the capability for predicting, by computer simulation, the ground motion of large basins during strong earthquakes, and to use this capability to study the seismic response of the Greater Los Angeles Basin.
-- with info from CMU's 8 1/2 x 11 News, December 2, 2004.

November 2004
Pittsburgh - The Epicenter of Storage Innovation

A reception highlighting Pittsburgh as the Epicenter of Storage Innovation is being held on Thursday, November 11, as a part of Supercomputing 2004, hosted by Pittsburgh's Storage Innovators. These innovators include the Data Storage Systems Center at Carnegie Mellon University, Intel Research Pittsburgh, Network Appliance, Panasas, the Parallel Data Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University, the Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and Seagate Research.

SC04 in Pittsburgh marks the first year that storage will get explicit recognition in high-performance computing. Pittsburgh has long been a leader in storage innovations that have spread out from here and left their mark on the entire industry. Dean Jim Morris of Carnegie Mellon University, former Dean of the School of Computer Science and current Dean of Carnegie Mellon University West Coast Campus will provide a short history of storage innovation in Pittsburgh. This history stretches from the days of the Information Technology Center (ITC) in the early 80s, and the creation of the Andrew File System (AFS), which later became a product from Transarc Corporation and then from IBM. AFS in turn inspired Coda, one basis for the distributed storage work now continuing at Intel Labs - Pittsburgh; led to Multi-Resident AFS (MR-AFS), still in production use at the Pittsburgh Supercomuting Center (PSC); and inspired the global file system developed by Spinnaker Networks (now Network Appliance, the market leader in networked storage). The Data Storage Systems Center (DSSC) was founded in 1990 to study advanced magnetic recording, inventing some of the basic technology and training many of the technical innovators who are still increasing the capacity of disk drive storage at the amazing rate of 50% per year. The DSSC provided early support for the Parallel Data Laboratory (PDL), which today leads the academic community in research into storage systems and originated the technology for Network Attached Secure Disks (NASD), a core component of the products currently being developed by Panasas. The DSSC also led directly to the founding of Seagate Research, which provides central R&D for the world's largest disk drive maker right here in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Digital Greenhouse (PDG) supports commercialization and technology transfer, including storage technology, in the greater Pittsburgh region.
--with info from SC04 technical program notes

October 2004
CMU & PDL Hosting Posix Extensions Workshop November 8
Carnegie Mellon University and the Parallel Data Lab hosted a Posix Extensions Workshop on November 8. The goal for the workshop was to achieve a well accepted by industry POSIX I/O API extension, or set of extensions, to make the POSIX I/O API more friendly to HPC, clustering, parallelism, and high concurrency applications. The meeting was held in conjunction with SuperComputing 2004 and covered the initial mechanics for how the POSIX API is to be extended, ideas for extensions, and the formation of a plan of attack, organization, and mapping of next steps. For more information contact Garth Gibson.

September 2004
Spiros Papadimitriou Named a Siebel Scholar

Congratulations to Spiros Papadimitriou, who has been selected as a Siebel Scholar, providing him with one year of financial (tuition + stipend) support. These scholarships are funded from an endowment set up by the Siebel Corporation.

June 2004
Srinivasan Seshan Awarded Finmeccanica Chair

Srinivasan Seshan, associate professor in the Computer Science Department, has been awarded the school's Finmeccanica Chair. Endowed in 1989, the Italian Finmeccanica Fellowship "acknowledges promising young faculty members in the field of computer science," and is designed as a three year appointment.

The Finmeccanica Group ranks among the largest international firms in its operating sectors of aerospace, defense, energy, transportation and information technology. They are active in the design and manufacture of aircraft, helicopters, satellites, radar, power generation components, trains, information and technology services - to name but a few - and the realization of these systems via engineering and managerial skills, electronics, information technology and innovative materials.
--with info from CMU 8 1/2 x 11 News, June 3, 2004 and SCS Today

April 2004
PDL Researchers Receive Award for Best Student Paper at FAST 2004
Congratulations to PDL researchers Eno Thereska, Jiri Schindler, John Bucy, Brandon Salmon and Gregory R. Ganger, who have been awarded Best Student Paper by the program committee of the USENIX Conference on File and Storage technologies (FAST '04) for their paper "A Framework for Building Unobtrusive Disk Maintenance Applications."

The FAST Best Student Paper award was also given to PDL researchers in 2002 when Jiri Schindler, John Linwood Griffin, Christopher R. Lumb, and Gregory R. Ganger were recognized for their paper "Track-Aligned Extents: Matching Access Patterns to Disk Drive Characteristics." Both papers, as well as the other three PDL papers presented at FAST '04, are available on our publications page.

April 2004
Best Paper Award at ICDE 2004
Shimin Chen, Anastassia Ailamaki, Phillip Gibbons, and Todd Mowry recieved the best paper award for "Improving Hash Join Performance through Prefetching" at the International Conference on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2004. The conference took place in Boston, MA from March 30 through April 2. ICDE is one of the top database conferences, with hundreds of submitted papers, and extremely selective acceptance ratio (typically, 1-of-5 to 1-of-7). The paper focuses on the most expensive database operation ('join'), and proposes novel methods to accelerate it.

March 2004
CMU Sensor Detects Computer Hard Drive Failures
Carnegie Mellon University researchers have designed a new heat-sensitive sensor to detect computer hard drive failures. The Carnegie Mellon Critter Temperature Sensor, which attaches to a user's desktop computer, is being deployed across campus to monitor the working environment of university computers, according to Michael Bigrigg, a project scientist for the Parallel Data Lab and the Institute for Complex Engineered Systems (ICES).

"Essentially we are trying to save the life of the computer hard drive. Hard drives get hot and the sensor is designed to pick up the slightest temperature variation," Bigrigg said. He added that the new sensor will also help researchers understand wasted energy and with the hope of extending the lifespan of a computer hard drive by sensing how much daily heat a hard drive endures. So far, the new sensor, the size of a dime, has been deployed in offices and labs throughout Carnegie Mellon's Hamburg Hall.
--with info from ece news & events, March 1, 2004

February 2004
Network Appliance Donates Filer for PDL Storage Needs
Network Appliance has donated a FAS900 series filer with 2 Terabytes of raw capacity and all of the software bells and whistles, with a retail value of $170K, in all. This filer will be used for critical PDL storage needs, including the software development repository, the PDL web server, and Lab member home directories.

February 2004
Mowry to Head Intel Lab

Todd Mowry, associate professor of computer science, will succeed Mahadev Satyanarayanan as head of Intel Research Pittsburgh, effective this May. Mowry will bring a new research thrust to the lablet at the intersection of databases, architecture, compilers and operating systems. According to Satyanarayanan, in the two short years of its existence, Intel Research Pittsburgh is already making a big impact on a number of areas of research, including personal computing mobility (Internet Suspend/Resume project), wide-area sensing (IrisNet project), and interactive search of complex data (Diamond project). "We are clearly past the startup phase, and can look forward to continued growth and many more accomplishments in 2004 and beyond," Satyanarayanan said.
--with info from, Feb. 3, 2004

January 2004
Seagate supports the Self-* Storage Project with Equipment Donation

Greg Ganger (Associate Professor, ECE and CS) and the Parallel Data Lab (PDL) have received a $25K equipment grant from Seagate Corporation. The grant significantly increases the capacity of the testbed for PDL's new Self-* Storage project, which seeks to create large-scale self-managing, self-organizing, self-tuning storage systems from generic servers.

January 2004
Spiros Papadimitriou wins a Best Paper Award at VLDB03
Computer Science Ph.D. candidate Spiros Papadimitriou has received a Best Paper Award from the Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) 2003 Conference for his paper "Adaptive, Hands-Off Stream Mining", which was co-authored with Anthony Brockwell and Christos Faloutsos. The conference took place this past September in Berlin and is one of the most prestigious and selective database conferences. The paper is available on our publications page.
--with info from Carnegie Mellon 8 1/2 x 11 News, Jan. 8, 2004

January 2004
LSI Logic Joins PDL Industrial Research Consortium
The PDL is pleased to announce that LSI Logic has joined the PDL Consortium of companies that support and participate in PDL research activities. From the LSI Logic page: Founded in 1981, LSI Logic pioneered the ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) industry. LSI Logic is a leading designer and manufacturer of communications, consumer and storage semiconductors for applications that access, interconnect and store data, voice and video and today, the company is focused on providing highly complex ASICs, ASSPs (Application Specific Standard Products), RapidChip™, host bus adapters, software and storage systems.


More PDL news here.