PDL News


December 2012
PDL Group Wins Best Student Paper Award at USENIX LISA 2012

Congratulations to Soila Pertet Kavulya and co-authors Elmer Garduno, Jiaqi Tan, Rajeev Gandhi, and Priya Narasimhan, for winning Best Student Paper at 26th USENIX Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA'12), Dec 9-14, SanDiego, CA for their work on visualization for failure diagnosis in the paper "Theia: Visual Signatures for Problem Diagnosisi in Large Haddop Clusters."

December 2012
Garth Gibson Named ACM Fellow

Congratulations to Garth, who has been named a Class of 2012 ACM Fellow for "contributions to the performance and reliability of storage systems." CMU PDL alum Ion Stoica was also named. The full list of awardees can be found here:

November 2012
Onur Mutlu Wins Intel Early Career Award For Innovative Research
Carnegie Mellon University's Onur Mutlu has received the prestigious 2012 Intel Early Career Faculty Award for outstanding research and educational contributions in the field of computer architecture.

"I am honored and humbled to receive this award as I work with my students and collaborators to develop fundamental breakthroughs to enable future computer systems that are much more efficient, resilient, predictable and economical," said Mutlu, an assistant professor in CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "We have been developing many new ways to solve efficiency, predictability and robustness problems and combat denial of service attacks so endemic in today's computer systems. My group aims to rethink the ways in which we design three fundamental functions of all computers, computation, storage (memory) and communication."

Intel's Early Career Faculty Honor Program award provides financial and networking support to those faculty members who are early in their careers and who show great promise as future academic leaders in disruptive computing technologies. The purpose of the program is to help promote the careers of promising early career faculty members and to foster long-term collaborative relationships with senior technical leaders at Intel. The $40,000 award is designed to cover some research costs and travel. 

"We are extremely pleased that Professor Mutlu is being recognized with this award. He is a uniquely talented researcher," said Ed Schlesinger, the Schramm Professor and head of CMU's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Mutlu is pioneering developments in computer systems that will improve performance, lower production costs, as well as enhance programmer productivity."

Mutlu, who directs the SAFARI research group at CMU, reports that his group is developing microprocessors, computer memories and platforms that can efficiently and reliably store, manipulate and communicate massive amounts of data. Mutlu's group is designing systems to be resilient to potential cybersecurity attacks and failures by researching ways to make them much more robust and predictable.  

A large focus of Mutlu's current research is on new memory architecture and technologies to make computers store and manipulate data more efficiently and reliably.

Mutlu's research has received several other prestigious recognitions, including numerous best paper awards and "Top Pick" paper selections by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Micro journal. In 2011, he received the Young Computer Architect Award from IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Computer Architecture. And in 2012, CMU's College of Engineering recognized him with the George Tallman Ladd Research Award. 

Mutlu received his bachelor's degrees in computer engineering and psychology in 2000 from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree in 2002 and a Ph.D. in 2006 in computer engineering, both from the University of Texas at Austin. Before coming to CMU, Mutlu worked at Microsoft Research and spent summers at Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. 

For more on Mutlu's research and publication work, visit the following links:,, and
--CMU News, Nov. 28, 2012

November 2012
Lorrie Cranor's Papers Lead in Privacy Writings

The Future of Privacy Forum (FPF) has selected the 2012 Privacy Papers for Policy Makers, highlighting eight leading privacy writings that were voted by the FPF Advisory Board to be most useful for policy makers. The selected writings include two papers authored by Carnegie Mellon faculty and Ph.D. students. They are:

  • “Smart, Useful, Scary, Creepy: Perceptions of Online Behavioral Advertising,” by Blase Ur (Ph.D. candidate, Institute for Software Research), Pedro G. Leon (Ph.D. candidate, Engineering and Public Policy), Lorrie Faith Cranor (associate professor, ISR and EPP), Richard Shay (Ph.D. candidate, ISR) and Yang Wang (former post-doc at CyLab now at Syracuse);
  • Earning notable mention was “Why Johnny Can’t Opt Out: A Usability Evaluation of Tools to Limit Online Behavioral Advertising,” by Pedro G. Leon, Blase Ur, Rebecca Balebako (Ph.D. candidate, EPP), Lorrie Faith Cranor, Richard Shay and Yang Wang.

The digest of selected papers will be released at a Nov. 7 event at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in Washington, D.C. Read more at
-- CMU 8.5x11 News, Nov 1, 2012

November 2012
Garth Gibson Keynote Speaker

Garth has been an invited keynote speaker at two conferences recently. His talk on "Storage Systems Issues for Shingled Magnetic Recording" opened the Storage System, Hard Disk and Solid State Technologies Summit, co-located with the Asia-Pacific Magnetic Recording Conference (APMRC), in Singapore, 1 November 2012. In September, he gave the SNIA SDC Keynote talk "Storage Systems for Shingled Disks" at the 2012 Storage Developer Conference in Santa Clara, CA.

October 2012
SCS Dissertation Award Winners Announced

We are pleased to congratulate the following award winners, from among the many SCS dissertations produced last year. One of two dissertation award winners chosen was by Vijay Vasudevan (Advisor: David Andersen) on "Energy-efficient Data-intensive Computing with a Fast Array of Wimpy Nodes." These dissertations will be nominated for the ACM Outstanding Dissertation Award. Receiving Honorable Mention is Duen Horng "Polo" Chau (Advisor: Christos Faloutsos) and his research on "Data Mining Meets HCI: Making Sense of Large Graphs."

October 2012
Carnegie Mellon University Repurposing Supercomputers From Los Alamos National Lab

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (10/23) reports officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory, "the National Science Foundation, the New Mexico Consortium and Carnegie Mellon University joined forces to launch PRObE, a one-of-a-kind supercomputer research center using a cluster of 2,048 recently retired computers." The Tribune-Review reports, "Although the main facility will remain in Los Alamos, across the street from the National Lab, Carnegie Mellon's Parallel Data Lab in Pittsburgh will house two smaller centers." Garth Gibson, a professor of computer science and computer and electrical engineering at Carnegie Mellon who collaborated on the project, "said the Pittsburgh facility, described as a 'staging cluster,' will allow researchers to perform small experiments and demonstrate to the PRObE committee that they're ready to request time on the facility in Los Alamos, known as Kodiak."

An extended article is available from CMU 8.5x11 News, Oct. 25, 2012.
--First Bell Engineering and Technology News, Oct. 23, 2012

October 2012
Christos Faloutsos and Team win Big Data Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF), with support from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently announced nearly $15 million in new Big Data fundamental research projects. These awards aim to develop new tools and methods to extract and use knowledge from collections of large data sets to accelerate progress in science and engineering research and innovation. The grants were made in response to a joint NSF-NIH call for proposals issued in conjunction with the March 2012 Big Data Research and Development Initiative launch: NSF Leads Federal Efforts in Big Data.

The eight winning projects announced run the gamut of scientific techniques for big data management, new data analytic approaches, and e-science collaboration environments with possible future applications in a variety of fields, such as physics, economics and medicine.

Christos Faloutsos (PI), Tom Mitchell (co-PI) and their team proposed the successful project "BIGDATA: Mid-Scale: DA: Collaborative Research: Big Tensor Mining: Theory, Scalable Algorithms and Applications." The objective of the project is to develop theory and algorithms to tackle the complexity of language processing, and to develop methods that approximate how the human brain works in processing language. The research also promises better algorithms for search engines, new approaches to understanding brain activity, and better recommendation systems for retailers.
--info from NSF Press Release 12-187

July 2012
PDL Alum Receives ACM SIGKDD Dissertation Honors

Lei Li, now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, who earned his PhD in computer science in 2011, was the runner up for the the prestigious 2012 Doctoral Dissertation Award from the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining (ACM SIGKDD).

In his dissertation, "Fast Algorithms for Mining Co-evolving Time Series," Li developed novel algorithms for forecasting, clustering and missing-value imputation for time sequences in a broad spectrum of settings, from motion-capture sequences to data-center monitoring. Christos Faloutsos, professor of computer science, was Li's advisor.

The ACM SIGKDD is the premier society for data mining and knowledge discovery research, and the ACM SIGKDD dissertation award is the highest distinction for a PhD in the area. Lei will be honored at the KDD Conference in Beijing, China, Aug. 12-16.
-- from CMU School of Computer Science News, July 27, 2012

May 2012
Faloutsos to Receive Honorary Degree from Aristotle University

The Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the largest university in Greece, will award an honorary doctorate degree to Christos Faloutsos, professor of computer science. The title of Doctor Honoris Causa will be conferred to Faloutsos during a May 30 convocation, one of a number of events this month that mark the 20th anniversary of Aristotle University's Department of Informatics.

Faloutsos will present a convocation address on "Mining Large Social Networks: Patterns and Anomalies." The following day, he will present a lecture on "Influence Propagation in Large Graphs: Theorems and Algorithms."

Faloutsos' research interests include include data mining for graphs and streams, fractals, database performance and indexing for multimedia and bio-informatics data. He and his students also have devised software for identifying previously unknown accomplices on Internet auction sites that help others perpetrate fraud.

His cross-disciplinary work is widely and regularly cited. An influential 1999 paper he wrote with his computer scientist brothers, Michalis and Petros, on the distribution of connections across the Internet was honored with a Test of Time Award in 2010 at SIGCOMM, the premier computer communications conference. That same year, Faloutsos received the Innovation Award from the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining. Other honors include the National Science Foundation's Presidential Young Investigator Award and the International Conference on Data Mining's 2006 Research Contributions Award.

Faloutsos earned his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at the National Technical University of Athens and his master's and doctoral degrees in computer science at the University of Toronto. He came to Carnegie Mellon as a visiting professor in 1997 and joined the faculty of the Computer Science Department the following year.
-- from CMU News Archive, May 30, 2012

May 2012
David Andersen Collaborates with Intel ISTC-CC Researchers to Win JouleSort Competition!

A team from the ISTC for Cloud Computing--Babu Pillai, Michael Kaminsky, Mike Kozuch (Intel Labs), and Dave Andersen (CMU)--were announced winners in 3 categories of the 2012 JouleSort competition, setting new records for fewest joules needed to sort 108, 109, and 1010 records. The team used an Intel Core i7-2700K desktop processor, coupled with 16 Intel 710 Series SSDs to beat existing energy efficiency records in the 10GB, 100GB, and 1TB categories by 2.6% (their record from last year), 33%, and 729%, respectively. See for further details.

May 2012
PDL Alum Ryan Johnson Wins SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award

Congratulations to Ryan Johnson, who has received the very prestigious SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award! SIGMOD has established the annual SIGMOD Jim Gray Doctoral Dissertation Award to recognize excellent research by doctoral candidates in the database field. This award, which was previously known as the SIGMOD Doctoral Dissertation Award, was renamed in 2008 with the unanimous approval of ACM Council in honor of Dr. Jim Gray.

Ryan received the award for his PhD thesis titled "Scalable Storage Managers for the Multicore Era". For the announcement please see The awards ceremony will beheld in this year's SIGMOD conference in Arizona.

May 2012
Priya's Student wins Alumni Award for Undergraduate Excellence in CS

We are pleased to announce that this year's recipient of the Alumni Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Computer Science is Nikhil Khadke, for his work entitled "Transparent System Call Based Performance Debugging for Cloud Computing." Nikhil is advised by Priya Narasimhan.

April 2012
Wolf Richter Receives Alan J. Perlis SCS Student Teaching Award

Congratulations to Wolfgang Richter, who has received the Alan J. Perlis Graduate Student Teaching Award for 2012. The SCS student teaching awards were inaugurated in 2005 and are named for Alan J. Perlis, a founder of the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon and our first Department Head (1965). The awards, for both graduate and undergraduate teaching assistants, are based on student nominations, recommendation letters and reviews, and honors the students who have shown the highest degree of excellence and dedication as teaching assistants.

April 2012
Ilari Shafer and Timothy Zhu Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowships

Congratulations to Ilari and Timmy, who have been awarded prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships for 2012. The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master's and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.

Fellows share in the prestige and opportunities that become available when they are selected. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
-- info from

March 2012
Anshul Gandhi wins Best Paper Award

Anshul Gandhi's paper “Minimizing Data Center SLA Violations and Power Consumption via Hybrid Resource Provisioning”, which won the Best Paper Award at the 2nd International Green Computing Confrerence (IGCC 2011) in Orlando, FL last July, was also selected as the Pick of the Month for March 2012 in the IEEE STC on Sustainable Computing newsletter.

March 2012
Garth Gibson Receives 2012 Jean-Claude Laprie Award in Dependable Computing

Garth has been awarded the 2012 Jean-Claude Laprie Award in Dependable Computing, Industrial/Commercial Product Impact Category, by the IFIP Working Group 10.4 on Dependable Computing and Fault Tolerance. The award is for outstanding papers published at least 10 years ago that have significantly influenced the theory and/or practice of dependable computing, and given for "A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID)," by D.A. Patterson, G.A. Gibson, and R.H. Katz, Proc. of 1988 ACM SIGMOD Int. Conf. on Management of Data, June 2, 1998. The groundbreaking paper introduced the concept of RAID, which rapidly became the common configuration paradigm for disks at all but the very low end of the server market. Its impact is primarily to industry where RAID was a truly disruptive technology. The RAID levels as defined in this paper persist to the present day. The paper familiarized development engineers who didn't normally work in the area of High Availability or Fault Tolerance with the concepts of improving reliability and availability through redundancy.

The award will be made at the 42nd Annual IEEE/IFIP Dependable Systems and Networks Conference (DSN), Boston, MA, June 25-28, 2012.
-- info from

February 2012
Onur Mutlu receives George Tallman Ladd Award
Onur Mutlu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering has received the George Tallman Ladd Research Award. The G.T. Ladd award is made to a faculty member within the Carnegie Institute of Technology in recognition of outstanding research and professional accomplishments and potential. The award is in the form of a memento and an honorarium. More than one award may be made in each year and is made based on excellence in research as measured by scholarly publications, research program development, development of funding, and awards and other recognition. Congratulations Onur!

February 2012
Michelle Mazurek and Hyeontaek Lim Facebook Fellowship Winners!

From among 300 applications, two PDL students have been named winners of a 2012-2013 Facebook Fellowship (12 awarded). Hyeontaek is working to improve the resource efficiency of distributed systems. He hopes to deliver more affordable data-intensive computing, facilitating future innovations for large-scale Internet services. Michelle is researching ways to let users share their content accurately and quickly, secure in the knowledge that only the right people will see it.

The fellowship program began in 2010 to "foster ties to the academic community and support the research of promising computer science Ph.D. students." Each student will be granted full tuition, a $30,000 stipend for tuition, $5000 for conference travel and $2500 for a new computer.

One other PDL student, Bin Fan, was named one of 30 finalists. Great work all!
-- with info from

January 2012
Prof Aims to Rebuild Google With Stuff In Desk Drawer

"Dave Andersen looked into a desk drawer filled with tiny computers. Each was no bigger than a hardback novel, and their chips ran no faster than 600 MHz. Built by a little-known company called Soekris Engineering, they were meant to be wireless access points or network firewalls, and that's how Andersen — a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon — used them in a previous research project. But that project was over, and he thought: "They've got to be good for something else."" [more]
Wired -- Jan 5, 2012


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