ECE Seminar: Rethinking Quantitative Approaches to Computer System Design in the Power Age, Kirk Cameron


1:00 pm-2:00 pm
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310 Larsen Hall
310 Larsen Hall
Gainesville, Florida 32611


Dr. Kirk W. Cameron
Computer Science
Virginia Tech

From instruction pipelining to multi-issue and prefetching on
hyper-threaded, multi-core processors, parallelism (or overlapped
work) increases the performance of modern applications and systems.
For more than two decades, the field has relied upon a quantitative
approach to computer system design that leverages experimental
measurements coupled with performance evaluation and prediction.
However, despite the evolution, emergence, intricacy, and
pervasiveness of designs that increase parallel overlap, application
and system performance evaluation techniques have changed little since
the 1990’s.

A hypothesis of this work is that the elevation of power consumption
to a first-class design constraint renders traditional quantitative
approaches to system design obsolete. The key observation is that
power management alters memory and processor throughput dynamically
and that when combined with thread-level parallelism, significant
performance overlap effects go undetected using best available
parallel performance models. In this talk, I will show how emergent
power management techniques require new insights to computation and
memory overlap. To this end, I will discuss the Compute-Overlap-Stall
(COS) model of parallel computation that enables accurate prediction
of the simultaneous performance impact of processor, memory, and
thread throttling. The implication of our findings is that as power
management techniques pervade, new quantitative approaches that
isolate the effects of overlap are essential to evaluating future
computer system designs.

Brief Bio

Kirk W. Cameron is Professor of Computer Science, Director of the
stack@cs Center
for Computer Systems, and Associate Department Head for Research and Engagement.
He is a Green HPC pioneer (Green500, SPECPower, PowerPack,
and his software has been downloaded by more than 500,000 people in
160+ countries. In addition
to NSF and DOE Career Awards, IBM and AMD Faculty Awards, over 100
publications and the HPDC 2017 Best Paper Award, he conceived and
created SeeMore, a 256-node kinetic sculpture of Raspberry Pi’s to
introduce parallel computing to kids from 2 to 92. His work
consistently appears in
The New York Times, The Guardian, Time, Newsweek, etc. and SeeMore was
named the second best RPi project of all time by MagPi Magazine. Prior
to completing
his Ph.D. at LSU in 2000, he graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics
from UF in 1995
and still bleeds orange and blue.


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