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Improving the Performance of Highly Reliable Software Systems

Date and Time
Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 4:15pm to 5:45pm
Computer Science Small Auditorium (Room 105)
Ed Nightingale, from University of Michigan
Jennifer Rexford
Commodity operating systems still retain the design principles developed when processor cycles were scarce and RAM was precious. These out-dated principles have led to performance/functionality trade-offs that are no longer needed or required; I have found that, far from impeding performance, features such as safety, consistency and energy-efficiency can often be added while improving performance over existing systems. I will describe my work developing Speculator, which provides facilities within the operating system kernel to track and propagate causal dependencies.

Using Speculator, I will show that distributed and local file systems can provide strong consistency and safety guarantees without the poor performance these guarantees usually entail.


Ed Nightingale is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on experimental software systems, especially operating systems, distributed systems and mobile computing.

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