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##### Research areas
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Distributed systems are notorious for harboring subtle bugs. Verification can, in principle, eliminate these bugs a priori, but verification has historically been difficult to apply at full-program scale, much less distributed-system scale.

We describe a methodology for building practical and provably correct distributed systems based on a unique blend of TLA-style state-machine refinement and Hoare-logic verification. We demonstrate the methodology on a complex implementation of a Paxos-based...

##### Publication details
Date: 5 October 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Transactions with strong consistency and high availability simplify building and reasoning about distributed systems. However, previous implementations performed poorly. This forced system designers to avoid transactions completely, to weaken consistency guarantees, or to provide single-machine transactions that require programmers to partition their data. In this paper, we show that there is no need to compromise in modern data centers. We show that a main memory distributed computing platform called...

##### Publication details
Date: 5 October 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Different battery chemistries perform better on different axes, such as energy density, cost, peak power, recharge time, longevity, and efficiency. Mobile system designers are constrained by existing technology, and are forced to select a single chemistry that best meets their diverse needs,
thereby compromising other desirable features. In this paper, we present a new hardware-software system, called Software Defined Battery (SDB), which allows system designers to integrate batteries of different...

##### Publication details
Date: 5 October 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery
##### Publication details
Date: 1 October 2015
Type: Article
Publisher: ASME

We present Footprint, a system for delivering online services in the increasingly common “integrated” setting, where the same provider operates multiple elements of the infrastructure (e.g., proxies, data centers, and a wide area network). Such integration can boost system efficiency and performance by finely modulating how traffic enters and traverses the infrastructure. We show how such modulation can be practically realized using a model that faithfully captures the complex, time-varying dynamics of...

##### Publication details
Date: 25 September 2015
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Number: MSR-TR-2015-73

Web browsing is a key application on mobile devices. However, mobile browsers are largely optimized for performance, imposing a significant burden on power-hungry mobile devices. In this work, we aim to reduce the energy consumed to load web pages on smartphones, preferably without increasing page load time and compromising user experience. To this end, we first study the internals of web page loading on smartphones and identify its energyinefficient behaviors. Based on our findings, we then derive...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 September 2015
Type: Proceedings
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

High memory contention is generally agreed to be a worst-case scenario for concurrent data structures. There has been a significant amount of research effort spent investigating designs which minimize contention, and several programming techniques have been proposed to mitigate its effects. However, there are currently few architectural mechanisms to allow scaling contended data structures at high thread counts.

In this paper, we investigate hardware support for scalable contended data...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 September 2015
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Number: MSR-TR-2015-71

In data centers, caches work both to provide low IO latencies and to reduce the load on the back-end network and storage. But they are not designed for multi-tenancy; system-level caches today cannot be configured to match tenant or provider objectives. Exacerbating the problemis the increasing number of un-coordinated caches on the IO data plane. The lack of global visibility on the control plane to coordinate this distributed set of caches leads to inefficiencies, increasing cloud provider cost....

##### Publication details
Date: 27 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Modern datacenter applications demand high throughput (40Gbps) and ultra-low latency (< 10 microsecond per hop) from the network, with low CPU overhead. Standard TCP/IP stacks cannot meet these requirements, but Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA) can. On IP-routed datacenter networks, RDMA is deployed using RoCEv2 protocol, which relies on Priority-based Flow Control (PFC) to enable a drop-free network. However, PFC can lead to poor application performance due to problems like head-of-line...

##### Publication details
Date: 17 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Modern data analytical tasks often witness very wide tables, from a few hundred columns to a few thousands. While it is commonly agreed that column stores are an appropriate data format for wide tables, the order of columns has long been neglected. Column ordering plays an important role in I/O performance, because these tables are so wide that accessing columns in a single horizontal partition may involve multiple disk seeks. In this paper, we study the problem of column ordering for column stores on...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: SoCC 2015 (Poster)

GRAM is an efficient and scalable graph engine for a large class of widely used graph algorithms. It is designed to scale up to multicores on a single server, as well as scale out to multiple servers in a cluster, offering significant, often over an order-of-magnitude, improvement over existing distributed graph engines on evaluated graph algorithms. GRAM is also capable of processing graphs that are significantly larger than previously reported. In particular, using 64 servers (1,024 physical cores),...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

To reduce the impact of network congestion on big data jobs, cluster management frameworks use various heuristics to schedule compute tasks and/or network flows. Most of these schedulers consider the job input data fixed and greedily schedule the tasks and flows that are ready to run. However, a large fraction of production jobs are recurring with predictable characteristics, which allows us to plan ahead for them. Coordinating the placement of data and tasks of these jobs allows for significantly...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM SIGCOMM
##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Proceedings
Publisher: HOTCHIPS

In a modern web application, a single high-level action like a mouse click triggers a flurry of asynchronous events on the client browser and remote web servers. We introduce Domino, a new tool which automatically captures and analyzes end-to-end, asynchronous causal relationship of events that span clients and servers. Using Domino, we found uncharacteristically long event chains in Bing Maps, discovered data races in the WinJS implementation of promises, and developed a new server-side scheduling...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing conference (SOCC)

We introduce cost allocation in the cloud, a problem of accounting costs produced by virtual machine workload in the data center to each player in the cloud. Player here can be the size of virtual machine type or the count of virtual machine in the user decided virtual machine packets. We draw this problem by analyzing the cost of real workload in Microsoft Azure. To our best knowledge, the cost allocation in the cloud has never been studied before. Based on the fact that the players in the cloud form...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: SoCC 2015 (Poster)

Many cloud applications can benefit from guaranteed latency for their network messages, however providing such predictability is hard, especially in multi-tenant datacenters. We identify three key requirements for such predictability: guaranteed network bandwidth, guaranteed packet delay and guaranteed burst allowance. We present Silo, a system that offers these guarantees in multi-tenant datacenters. Silo leverages the tight coupling between bandwidth and delay: controlling tenant bandwidth leads to...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Many network functions executed in modern datacenters, e.g., load balancing, application-level QoS, and congestion control, exhibit three common properties at the data plane: they need to access and modify state, to perform computations, and to access application semantics --- this is critical since many network functions are best expressed in terms of application-level messages. In this paper, we argue that the end hosts are a natural enforcement point for these functions and we present Eden, an...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery
##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: KDD

Rack-scale computers, comprising a large number of micro-servers connected by a direct-connect topology, are poised to replace servers as the building block in data centers. We focus on the problem of routing and congestion control across the rack's network, and find that high path diversity in rack topologies, in combination with workload diversity across it, means that traditional solutions are inadequate.

We present R2C2, a network stack for rack-scale computers providing flexible and...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 August 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Size and weight constraints on wearables limit their battery capacity and restrict them from providing rich functionality. The need for durable and secure storage for personal data further compounds this problem as these features incur energy-intensive operations. This paper
presents WearDrive, a fast storage system for wearables based on battery-backed RAM and an efficient means to offload energy intensive tasks to the phone. WearDrive leverages low-power network connectivity available on...

##### Publication details
Date: 10 July 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: USENIX – Advanced Computing Systems Association
Awards: Best Paper Award

Datacenter-scale computing for analytics workloads is increasingly common. High operational costs force heterogeneous applications to share cluster resources for achieving economy of scale. Scheduling such large and diverse workloads is inherently hard, and existing approaches tackle this in two alternative ways: 1) centralized solutions offer strict, secure enforcement of scheduling invariants (e.g., fairness, capacity) for heterogeneous applications, 2) distributed solutions offer...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 July 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: USENIX – Advanced Computing Systems Association

To cope with the ever growing availability of training data, there have been several proposals to scale machine learning computation beyond a single server and distribute it across a cluster. While this enables reducing the training time, the observed speed up is often limited by network bottlenecks.

To address this, we design MLNet, a host-based communication layer that aims to improve the network performance of distributed machine learning systems. This is achieved through a combination of...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 July 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: USENIX – Advanced Computing Systems Association

The problem of electing a leader from among n contenders is one of the fundamental questions in distributed computing. In its simplest formulation, the task is as follows: given n processors, all participants must eventually return a win or lose indication, such that a single contender may win. Despite a considerable amount of work on leader election, the following question is still open: can we elect a leader in an asynchronous fault-prone system faster than...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 July 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Temporal graphs that capture graph changes over time are attracting increasing interest from research communities, for functions such as understanding temporal characteristics of social interactions on a time-evolving social graph. ImmortalGraph is a storage and execution engine designed and optimized specifically for temporal graphs. Locality is at the center of ImmortalGraph’s design: temporal graphs are carefully laid out in both persistent storage and memory, taking into account data locality in...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 July 2015
Type: Article
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

In this work, we consider the following random process, motivated by the analysis of lock-free concurrent algorithms under high memory contention. In each round, a new scheduling step is allocated to one of $n$ threads, according to a distribution $\vect{p} = (p_1, p_2, \ldots, p_n)$, where thread $i$ is scheduled with probability $p_i$. When some thread first reaches a set threshold of executed steps, it registers a \emph{win}, completing its current operation, and resets its step count to $1$. At...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 July 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery
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