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Brown CS Earns Landmark Recognition In Computer Operating Systems At SOSP 2015

Brown University’s Department of Computer Science (Brown CS) has made its strongest showing to date at the 25th Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP 2015), earning two of the most significant honors in the field of computer operating systems.

Professor Maurice Herlihy (and his collaborator, J. Eliot B. Moss of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) received the SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award, and PhD Candidate Jonathan Mace, Ryan Roelke '15 (now at Vertica), and Assistant Professor Rodrigo Fonseca received one of three Best Paper Awards. SOSP, currently being held in Monterey, California, is often considered the leading forum for researchers and developers of computer operating systems, and the two awards demonstrate both enduring and ongoing achievements in the area by Brown CS faculty and students.

Maurice Herlihy

Selected by past program chairs from leading Operating Systems conferences, past Weiser and Turing Award winners from the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGOPS (Special Interest Group on Operating Systems) community, and more, Professor Maurice Herlihy (and his collaborator, J. Eliot B. Moss of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) has just received the SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award.

SIGOPS instituted the honor in 2005 to recognize the most influential Operating Systems papers from at least ten years in the past, and winners are chosen following a discussion that considers the impact that the paper and its research have had on the field. In this case, the award recognizes the lasting contribution that Maurice made with the invention of transactional memory, a multiprocessor architecture that provided efficiencies to lock-free synchronization that had previously only been available in techniques based on mutual exclusion, and that widely outperformed existing locking techniques of the time.  

The award continues a string of remarkable recent successes for Maurice, including being elected a National Academy of Inventors Fellow and being inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Jonathan Mace, Ryan Roelke, and Rodrigo Fonseca

PhD Candidate Jonathan Mace, Ryan Roelke '15 (now at Vertica), and Assistant Professor Rodrigo Fonseca have just received one of three Best Paper Awards. Their research compared favorably with more than two dozen entries selected from over 300 global submissions, covering a wide range of theory and practice.

Jonathan, Ryan, and Rodrigo’s work (“Pivot Tracing: Dynamic Causal Monitoring for Distributed Systems”) addresses the challenge of monitoring and troubleshooting distributed systems with a monitoring framework that combines techniques from both the dynamic instrumentation and causal tracing literature. Pivot Tracing gives users, at runtime, the ability to define arbitrary metrics at one point of the system, while being able to select, alter, and group by events meaningful at other parts of the system, even when crossing component or machine boundaries. The result is a dynamic and extensible solution that enables cross-tier analysis between inter-operating applications with low execution overhead.

"This is the first framework we are aware of," Rodrigo says, "that allows you to ask questions about a system as it runs, while causally combining metrics across its distributed components."