PDL News


December 2020
Lorrie Cranor named AAAS Fellow

Lorrie Cranor, the director of CyLab and a professor in the Institute for Software Research and the department of Engineering and Public Policy, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). As part of the section on information, computing, and communication, Cranor was elected as an AAAS Fellow for her contributions to usable privacy and security research, policy, and education.

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers and has been a tradition since 1874.
-- info from by Daniel Tkacik

November 2020
Anuj Kalia Receives Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award Honorable Mention

Anuj Kalia was awarded honorable mention by the 2020 ACM SIGOPS Dennis M. Ritchie Doctroal Dissertation Award committee for his work on Efficient Remote Procedure Calls for Datacenters. The thesis provides fundamentally grounded guidance about when and where we should split functionality between the CPUs and NICs in [the post-Moore's-law era]. The dissertation takes an approach that will age well, namely, that datacenter round-trips, measured in microseconds, will only grow increasingly more costly compared to performing processing locally within a machine. It then asks how to use the modern hardware options to efficiently get that processing to the CPUs nearest the data in ways that simultaneously meet the requirements for real deployments (congestion control, retransmission, etc.) and avoid both conventional and unexpected sources of overhead (OS networking stacks, peculiarities of the PCIe bus protocols, etc.).

The Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award was created in 2013 by ACM SIGOPS to recognize research in software systems and to encourage the creativity that Dennis Ritchie embodied, providing a reminder of Ritchie’s legacy and what a difference one person can make in the field of software systems research.

October 2020
PDL Alum Anuj Kalia and Co-authors David Andersen and Michael Kaminsky Win Best Paper at SoCC'20!

Congratulations to Anuj, Dave and Michael, on receiving the best paper award at SoCC'20, which was held virtually this year, for their paper "Challenges and Solutions for Fast Remote Persistent Memory Access." The paper explores the unique challenges that arise when building high-performance networked systems for NVMM.

July 2020
David O’Hallaron Awarded the Philip L. Dowd Fellowship

Congratulations to ECE and CS Professor David O’Hallaron, who has been awarded the Philip L Dowd Fellowship in the College of Engineering. The fellowship is awarded to recognize educational contributions and encourage the undertaking of an educational project such as textbook writing, educational technology development, laboratory experience improvement, educational software, or course and curriculum development. The Dowd Fellowship Award usually consists of a memento and a discretionary fund to support the nominee’s education project and lasts for one year beginning the January following the award.

June 2020
Best Paper at SIGMETRICS'20!

Congratulations to Ankur Mallick, Malhar Chaudhari, Ganesh Palanikumar, Utsav Sheth, and Gauri Joshi on receiving the best paper award at the Association for Computing Machinery’s (ACM) annual SIGMETRICS conference, which was held virtually in Boston, MA, June 8-12. Their paper, “Rateless Codes for Near-Perfect Load Balancing in Distributed Matrix-Vector Multiplication,” proposes a rateless fountain coding strategy that its latency is asymptotically equal to ideal load balancing, and it performs asymptotically zero redundant computation.

May 2020
Phil Gibbons Named Recipient of 2019 Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award

The Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award honors specific theoretical accomplishments that have had a significant and demonstrable effect on the practice of computing. ThIs award is accompanied by a prize of $10,000 and is endowed by contributions from the Kanellakis family, with additional financial support provided by ACM's Special Interest Groups on Algorithms and Computational Theory (SIGACT), Design Automaton (SIGDA), Management of Data (SIGMOD), and Programming Languages (SIGPLAN), the ACM SIG Projects Fund, and individual contributions.

ACM has named Noga Alon of Princeton University and Tel Aviv University; Phillip Gibbons of Carnegie Mellon University; Yossi Matias of Google and Tel Aviv University; and Mario Szegedy of Rutgers University recipients of the ACM Paris Kanellakis Theory and Practice Award for seminal work on the foundations of streaming algorithms and their application to large-scale data analytics.

Alon, Gibbons, Matias and Szegedy pioneered a framework for algorithmic treatment of streaming massive datasets. Today, their sketching and streaming algorithms remain the core approach for streaming big data and constitute an entire subarea of the field of algorithms. Additionally, the concepts of sketches and synopses that they introduced are now routinely used in a variety of data analysis tasks in databases, network monitoring, usage analytics in internet products, natural language processing and machine learning.

In their seminal paper, “The Space Complexity of Approximating the Frequency Moments,” Alon, Matias and Szegedy laid the foundations of the analysis of data streams using limited memory. Follow-up papers, including “Tracking Join and Self-join Sizes in Limited Storage,” by Alon, Gibbons, Matias, and Szegedy, and “New Sampling-Based Summary Statistics for Improving Approximate Query Answers,” by Gibbons and Matias, expanded on the idea of data synopses and were instrumental n the development of the burgeoning fields of streaming and sketching algorithms. This work has been applied to query planning and processing in databases and the design of small synopses to monitor vast quantities of data generated in networks.
-- news, May 2020

May 2020
M. Satyanarayanan Named A University Professor

Seven Carnegie Mellon University faculty members have been elevated to the rank of University Professor, the highest distinction a faculty member can achieve at CMU. Among the newly appointed University Professors is Mahadev Satyanarayanan, a faculty member of the Parallel Data Lab.

"University Professors are distinguished by international recognition and for their contributions to education, artistic creativity and/or research," said Provost Jim Garrett. "Each University Professor exemplifies a high level of professional achievement and an exceptional commitment to academic excellence at our university." Garrett said professors are nominated and recommended by academic leaders and faculty who have already achieved the designation of University Professor.

Mahadev Satyanarayanan, best known as Satya, is the Carnegie Group Professor of Computer Science. He is an experimental computer scientist, who designs, implements and evaluates systems. Satya's multi-decade research career has focused on the challenges of performance, scalability, availability and trust in information systems that reach from the cloud to the mobile edge of the Internet.

In the course of this work, he has pioneered many advances in distributed systems, mobile computing, pervasive computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Examples include his work as principal architect of CMU's pioneering Andrew File System in the 1980s, his work on disconnected and weakly connected mobile data access in the Coda File System in the early 1990s, his work on adaptive and energy-efficient mobile computing in the Odyssey system in the late 1990s and early 2000s and his most recent work in establishing the field of edge computing.

Satya directs the Living Edge Laboratory, which explores edge computing in live settings. By introducing a new computing tier between the cloud and mobile/IoT devices, edge computing makes powerful computational resources available via low latency and high bandwidth wireless networks. Another project, called Gabriel, leverages edge computing to amplify human cognition in real time for complex task guidance. Low latency wireless access to resources that are larger, heavier and more energy hungry than could ever be carried or worn by a human user is crucial to realizing this vision.

Satya earned his Ph.D. in computer science at CMU in 1983. An Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and IEEE Fellow, he is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Association for Computing Machinery's prestigious Software System Award for his work on the Andrew File System.
-- with info from CMU News, May 15, 2020

May 2020
Scaling Up Metadata

Creating and managing massive numbers of records has turned out to be a long-standing challenge for computer file-system researchers. Handling millions or billions of files is extremely difficult, let alone trillions.

But that’s what a team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and Carnegie Mellon University is doing, satisfying a demand for managing truly huge quantities of files. Their solution, DeltaFS, is a distributed file system for high-performance computing (HPC) that’s distributed via GitHub. [ more]
--Deixis Magazine, May 2020, by Sally Johnson

May 2020
Congratulations to 2020 SCS Faculty Wward Winners!

Congratulations to these Allen Newell Award for Research Excellence winners: Lujo Bauer, Nicolas Christin, Lorrie Cranor, Saranga Komanduri, Michelle Mazurek, William Melicher, Sean Segretti, Rich Shay and Blase Ur, for their pioneering contribution to the science of evaluating password strength and for embodying this science in online tools that enable individuals and groups to more easily secure their systems.
-- Cylab News, May 22, 2020

March 2020
Rashmi Vinayak Wins NSF CAREER Award

Rashmi Vinayak, an assistant professor in the Carnegie Mellon University Computer Science Department, has won a five-year, $650,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the National Science Foundation's most prestigious award for young faculty members.

The award will support Vinayak's work to improve the resource and energy efficiency of large-scale data centers, which together serve as the backbone for internet-based services, cloud services and data analytics platforms.

"Such large-scale systems are prone to failures and unavailability, and therefore have a high degree of redundancy built in to them to provide resilience against such events," she noted. "While redundancy provides resilience, it comes with a significant overhead in terms of resource and energy requirements. The overarching goal of this project is to design resource- and energy-efficient redundancy algorithms for data centers using tools based on information theory and coding theory."

Vinayak earned her Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California at Berkeley, where she also worked as a postdoctoral researcher before joining CSD in 2017. Her previous awards include the Eli Jury Award from Berkeley's EECS Department, a Google Faculty Research Award, Facebook Communications and Networking Research Award, and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Memorial Lecture Award.
-- Carnegie Mellon University News, March 20, 2020

March 2020
APOCS'20 Best Paper!

The inaugural APOCS (SIAM Symposium on Algorithmic Principles of Computer Systems), held in January in Salt Lake City, UT, awarded its best paper accolades to a CMU team for the paper "Writeback-Aware Caching", by Nathan Beckmann, Phillip B. Gibbons, Bernhard Haeupler, and Charles McGuffey. The paper explores the Writeback-Aware Caching problem, which modifies traditional caching problems by explicitly accounting for the cost of writing modified data back to memory on eviction. Congratulations!

February 2020
Rashmi Vinayak Wins Facebook Distributed Systems Research Award

Congratulations to Rashmi on receiving a Facebook Distributed Systems Research Award for her work on "Reduced cost cluster storage by exploiting disk-reliability heterogeneity."

Facebook launched the Distributed Systems Award at the Symposium on Operating Systems Principles in October 2019 to foster forward-looking research in the area of distributed systems, applying important techniques from the field at Facebook’s scale and sharing our designs, implementations, insights, and data with the community.

Out of a total of 63 proposals from 12 countries and 50 universities, eight winners were selected and are listed below. “We were thrilled to receive so many high-quality and thought-provoking submissions; we continue to be inspired by the work of our academic peers,” says PDL Alumni Justin Meza, Research Scientist on the Facebook Core Systems team.

“It was challenging to only select eight awardees,” he says. “We are grateful to the research community for engaging so enthusiastically with us, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.” The RFP winners are invited to the Core Systems Faculty Summit in 2020 (time TBD), where they will have the opportunity to discuss their proposals with the research community.
--with info from Facebook Research News, Feb. 2020

January 2020
Juncheng (Jason) Yang Receives Facebook Fellowship

Four Ph.D. candidates in the School of Computer Science are among 36 outstanding students in computer science and engineering from 16 universities who have been named 2020 recipients of the Facebook Fellowship Program.

Each Facebook fellow receives tuition and fees for up to two academic years and a stipend of $42,000, which includes conference travel support. Facebook received applications from 1,876 students at more than 100 universities for this year's program.

Among the four CMU students receiving the award is Juncheng Yang, a Ph.D. student in the Computer Science Department, to be a fellow in computer storage and efficiency. Yang is broadly interested in the reliability, performance and availability in the storage and caching subsystems of internet-scale web services.
--CMU School of Computer Science News, Jan. 29, 2020

January 2020
Rashmi Vinayak Receives Prof. R. Narasimhan Memorial Lecture Award

Assistant Professor Rashmi Vinayak received the "Prof. R. Narasimhan memorial lecture award 2020" from Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), which is a premier research institution in India. She delivered the memorial lecture at TIFR on January 6th 2020 concerning her work on "Convertible codes: New class of codes for efficient conversion of coded data in distributed storage."

She leads the CMU TheSys research group, which is a part of the Parallel Data Lab (PDL). Rashmi's research interests lie in the broad area of computer and networked systems with a current focus on reliability, availability, scalability, and performance challenges in data storage and caching systems, in systems for machine learning and in live video streaming.

January 2020
Mor Harchol-Balter Awarded Bruce J. Nelson Chair in Computer Science

Congratulations to Mor, who was awarded the Dr. Bruce J. Nelson Professorship in Computer Science.
The chair was created by the family and friends of Bruce Nelson (CS'81) in 2000, in his memory, to support a faculty member in the School of Computer Science.


October 2019
Delta FS Project Takes Home R&D 100 Award

The R&D World Magazine announced its 100 winners for 2019 on October 29. "These 100 winning products and technologies are the disruptors that will change industries and make the world a better place in the coming years," said Paul J. Heney, Vice President, Editorial Director for R&D World.
In the IT/Electrical category, the winner is the CMU/Los Alamos National Laboratory collaborative project "DeltaFS—Rapidly Searching Big Data." Congratulations to its may contributors, including
Brad Settlemyer, Scientist, Los Alamos National Laboratory; George Amvrosiadis, Research Professor
Carnegie Mellon University; Gary Grider, HPC Division Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Qing Zheng, Research Assistant, Carnegie Mellon University; Greg Ganger, Jatras Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Charles Cranor, Systems Scientist, Carnegie Mellon University; and Garth Gibson, Professor, Carnegie Mellon University
--RDWorld Online, October 29, 2019

More PDL News here.