PDL News


December 2011
PDL / CMU's Impact on Distributed File Systems Continues

Many years later, CMU's seminal work on distributed file systems continues to have huge impact on the field. From AFS to Coda, CMU's work has laid a foundation atop which some of the most popular cloud backup and sharing systems, such as Dropbox and iCloud, are built. Check out this Wired article for more.
Wired -- December 25, 2011

October 2011
Garth's 1988 RAID Paper Enters SIGOPS Hall of Fame

We are very pleased to announce that Garth Gibson's original RAID paper from SIGMOD 1988 --- "A Case for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks" by Patterson, Gibson and Katz --- was one of the four papers to be honored as a 2011 SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award paper. The award was made at the 23rd ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), October 23-26, 2011, Cascais, Portugal.
The SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award was instituted in 2005 to recognize the most influential Operating

Systems papers that were published at least ten years in the past. The Hall of Fame Award Committee consists of past program chairs from SOSP, OSDI, EuroSys, past Weiser and Turing Award winners from the SIGOPS community, and representatives of each of the Hall of Fame Award papers.

August 2011
Intel Labs Invests $30M in the Future of Cloud and Embedded Computing with the Opening of Latest Intel Science and Technology Centers

SANTA CLARA, Calif., August 3, 2011 – Aimed at shaping the future of cloud computing and how increasing numbers of everyday devices will add computing capabilities, Intel Labs announced the latest Intel Science and Technology Centers (ISTC) for Cloud Computing Research and for Embedded Computing, both headquartered at Carnegie Mellon University.

The ISTC for Cloud Computing forms a new cloud computing research community that broadens Intel's "Cloud 2015" vision with new ideas from top academic researchers, and includes research that extends and improves on Intel's existing cloud computing initiatives. The center combines top researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, Princeton University, and Intel. The researchers will explore technology that will have has important future implications for the cloud, including built-in application optimization, more efficient and effective support of big data analytics on massive amounts of online data, and making the cloud more distributed and localized by extending cloud capabilities to the network edge and even to client devices.

In the future, these capabilities could enable a digital personal handler via a device wired into your glasses that sees what you see, to constantly pull data from the cloud and whisper information to you during the day -- telling you who people are, where to buy an item you just saw, or how to adjust your plans when something new comes up.
-- from Intel News Room, by Connie Brown

June 2011
Tumanov Earns Canada Graduate Scholarship

ECE Ph.D. student Alexey Tumanov has earned a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS-D) that will support his research on cloud computing with Jatras Professor of ECE Greg Ganger. The prestigious award is presented to Canadian citizens or permanent residents pursuing doctor's degrees, and is based on the applicant's academic excellence, research ability and potential, and communications, interpersonal and leadership abilities. The NSERC is the Canadian equivalent of the NSF, and only the top tier of post-graduate scholarship recipients earn the CGS-D. As a CGS-D winner at a non-Canadian university, Tumanov will receive $63,000 over three years to pursue his graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon.

Tumanov is part of the vCloud team in Carnegie Mellon's Parallel Data Lab, where he focuses on systems support for large-scale distributed computing environments. Specifically, he investigates efficient execution placement, multitenancy and dynamic heterogeneity issues in virtualized data-intensive scalable computing frameworks.

The NSERC is Canada's instrument for making strategic investments in the nation's capability in science and technology. The NSERC supports both basic university research through discovery grants and project research through partnerships among post-secondary institutions, governments and the private sector, as well as the advanced training of highly qualified people. For more on the organization, visit
--from ECE News Online, June 17, 2011

June 2011
Satya Receives Outstanding Contributions Award at Mobisys'11

Congratulations to Prof. M. Satyanarayanan (Satya), who was awarded the SIGMOBILE 2010 Outstanding Contributions Award "for pioneering a wide spectrum of technologies in support of disconnected and weakly connected mobile clients" at Mobisys 2011. He joins an illustrious group of previous winners, including Prof. Daniel P. Siewiorek in 2006, who received the award "for pioneering fundamental contributions to wearable and context-aware computing." The SIGMOBILE Outstanding Contribution Award is given for significant and lasting contributions to the research on mobile computing and communications and wireless networking.

June 2011
FAWN Team Winner of 2011 10GB JouleSort Daytona and Indy categories

The FAWN team, a joint Intel-CMU group, including Padmanabhan Pillai, Michael Kaminsky, Michael A. Kozuch, Vijay Vasudevan, Lawrence Tan and David G. Andersen won the 2011 10GB JouleSort competition using a Sandy Bridge-based platform with Intel SSDs. For more details see FAWNSort: Energy-efficient Sorting of 10GB and the Sort Benchmark Home Page.

June 2011
Onur Mutlu wins IEEE Young Computer Architect Award

ECE Assistant Professor Onur Mutlu has earned the inaugural IEEE Computer Society Technical Committee on Computer Architecture's Young Computer Architect Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions in the field of computer architecture in both research and education." The award recognizes outstanding contributions in the field of computer architecture by an individual who received their Ph.D. within six years of their nomination.
-- 8.5x11 News, June 23, 2011, Vol. 21, No. 49

June 2011
PDL Alums win Best Demonstration at SIGMOD 2011

The demonstration of the DORA system ("A Data-oriented Transaction Execution Engine and Supporting Tools") won the Best Demonstration Award at SIGMOD 2011! The team that implemented the demo consisted of Ippokratis Pandis, Pinar Tozun, Miguel Branco, Dimitris Karampinas, Danica Porobic, Ryan Johnson and Natassa Ailamaki. The entire team is now affiliated with EPFL, with Ippokratis, Ryan and Natassa all recent members of the PDL. SIGMOD is the premier conference on data management systems, this year held in Athens, Greece.

June 2011
Swapnil Patil Receives ACM Student Research Award!

Swapnil Patil, a PhD student in computer science, took first place in the graduate student category of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Student Research Competition Grand Finals. Patil received the award June 4 at the ACM Awards Banquet in San Jose, Calif., for his development of a file system director service that scales to millions of files, which he presented at SC10, the international conference for high performance computing, networking, storage and analysis. ACM's Student Research Program is sponsored by Microsoft Research to encourage students to pursue careers in computer science research, and to ensure the future of scientific discovery and innovation. The competitions, held at 13 major ACM Special Interest Group conferences within the last year, featured research projects produced by an international array of computer science graduate and undergraduate students. Winners from each of the SIG competitions were then eligible to compete in the Grand Finals.

March 2011
Adrian Perrig to Receive Teaching Award
Congratulations to Adrian who has been named a recipient of the 2011 Carnegie Institute of Technology Benjamin Richard Teare, Jr. Teaching Award. Adrian is a Professor in the Departments of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Engineering & Public Policy and Computer Science.

March 2011
PDL Alum, Jure Leskovec, Named on IEEE "AI's 10 to Watch" List

Four of the 10 most promising young scientists working today in the field of artificial intelligence are either Carnegie Mellon University faculty members or have recently earned their PhDs in computer science at CMU, according to the editors of IEEE Intelligent Systems magazine. The magazine compiles a list of these outstanding researchers, called "AI's 10 to Watch," every two years. One of these is PDL Alum Jure Leskovec, who earned his PhD in computational and statistical learning in 2008 and is now an assistant professor of computer science at Stanford University, uses large-scale data-mining and machine learning techniques to analyze the structure and evolution of the Internet.
--excerpted from CMU News Brief, March 9, 2011 by Brian Spice

February 2011
Three Mutlu Papers Named Top Picks

Three research papers co-authored by Assistant Professor of ECE Onur Mutlu have been published in a collection of 2010's most significant computer architecture papers, as chosen by IEEE Micro magazine. At the beginning of each year, the leading IEEE periodical in computer architecture and design selects 10–12 "Top Pick" computer architecture papers of the past year based on the publication's novelty and potential for long-term impact. Eleven were selected for 2010.

The first publication, "Aergia: Exploiting Packet Latency Slack in On-Chip Networks," highlights more efficient on-chip communication mechanisms. It introduces methods that identify messages critical for system performance in multicore systems and develops scheduling policies that take advantage of this information. The paper — co-written by Mutlu, Reetuparna Das (Intel), Chita Das (Penn State University), and Thomas Moscibroda (Microsoft Research) — originally appeared at the 37th International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA). The Top Picks version of the paper is available here.

In the second Top Pick, "Data Marshaling for Multicore Architectures," Mutlu and colleagues from the HPS Research Group at the University of Texas at Austin develop hardware/software cooperative methods to reduce the performance overhead of remotely executing a code segment in a multicore system. The paper, co-written by Aater Suleman, Jose Joao, Khubaib, and Yale Patt, also originally appeared at the 37th ISCA. The Top Picks version of the paper is available here.

The third paper, "Thread Cluster Memory Scheduling: Exploiting Differences in Memory Access Behavior," presents a new memory scheduling algorithm that addresses system throughput and fairness separately with the goal of achieving the best of both. This paper, co-authored by Yoongu Kim, Michael Papamichael and Mor Harchol-Balter, appeared in the Proceedings of the 43rd International Symposium on Microarchitecture (MICRO), pages 65-76, Atlanta, GA, December 2010.

For more on Mutlu's work, visit
--from ECE News, Feb 28, 2011

February 2011
Sloan Fellowships for 2011 Announced
Congratulations to David Andersen has been named a 2011 Sloan Foundation Fellow. The complete list of awardees is here.

February 2011
Gregory Ganger Earns ECE Professorship For Expertise In Computer Systems
Gregory R. Ganger was awarded the Stephen J. Jatras Professorship in Electrical and Computer Engineering for cutting-edge work in computer systems. The professorship is named for the late Stephen J. Jatras (E'47), former chairman of the Telex Corp. and a leader in a variety of academic, civic and community organizations stretching from Pittsburgh to Tulsa, Okla.

Ganger, who recently testified in Washington, D.C., about the risks and benefits of cloud computing, is internationally recognized for his work in computer systems, such as storage systems, distributed systems and operating systems.  

Since 2001, Ganger has served as director of the Parallel Data Lab (PDL), where he is collaborating with HP labs on a research initiative focused on cloud computing issues through the prestigious HP Labs Innovation Program. More than 50 students, staff and faculty contribute to PDL research activities, and 19 of the top companies sponsor and participate in the ongoing work.   

"Greg is an outstanding researcher, educator and academic leader. His work addresses fundamental engineering challenges, and solves important problems even while he builds unique systems and organizations. He is a wonderful example of the spirit of Carnegie Mellon's culture of collaboration," said Ed Schlesinger, head of Carnegie Mellon's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
-- 8.5x11 News, Feb. 10, 2011 - Vol. 21, No. 30


More recent PDL news here.