Brown CS News

Brown CS Will Host HotOS 2023, Bringing The World’s Top Systems Researchers To Campus

    Click the links that follow for more news about Malte Schwarzkopf, Nikos Vasilakis, and other recent accomplishments by our faculty.

    From June 22-24, Brown University’s Department of Computer Science will host the world’s most prominent workshop on new ideas in computer systems, the ACM SIGOPS 19th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS 2023). The event will bring 100 of the field’s thought leaders to Providence and demonstrate Brown’s continued status as a leading center for systems research and study. Brown CS faculty member Malte Schwarzkopf is the event’s General Chair.

    “It’s particularly exciting to host the first in-person instance of HotOS, which only happens every two years, since the COVID-19 pandemic, at Brown”, says Malte. “I and many other systems reachers really enjoy the HotOS workshop because it’s a forum for researchers to discuss and receive feedback on early-stage ideas. Unlike conferences where the talks and papers cover finished research projects, presentations at HotOS focus on fresh ideas that still need fleshing out, and have long discussions that really become a dialogue between researchers.”

    The event’s organizers promise a dynamic program of innovative ideas in computer systems research and a discussion of how technological advances and new applications are shaping our computational infrastructure. Main sessions will be held in MacMillan Hall, but other events will lead participants to the Center for Information Technology and across campus, offering a glimpse of Brown University’s multidisciplinary approach.

    As a testament to Brown’s prominence in the field, Brown CS students and faculty are presenting three papers at HotOS this year. One of these is authored by two current Brown CS undergraduate students, juniors Megan Frisella and Shirley Loayza Sanchez, who are part of the ETOS group in Brown’s Systems Group.

    Megan Frisella, Shirley Loayza Sanchez, and Malte Schwarzkopf’s “Towards Increased Datacenter Efficiency with Soft Memory” introduces soft memory, a new software-level abstraction on top of standard primary storage in datacenters that makes memory revocable under memory pressure, for reallocation by other applications. Soft memory helps datacenter operators run their clusters at higher load without fearing disruption from crashed jobs due to out-of-memory errors.

    Another paper, “Unleashing True Utility Computing with Quicksand”, authored by Zhenyuan Ruan, Shihang Li, Kaiyan Fan, Marcos K. Aguilera, Adam Belay, Seo Jin Park, and Malte Schwarzkopf, presents a new framework for structuring datacenter applications so that they smoothly distribute, scale, and migrate their consumption of resources across machines. Quicksand breaks classic application processes into resource proclets, which, like tiny grains of sand, allow small parts of an application to fit wherever resources are available across thousands of servers in the datacenter. This works even if resources are only transiently available on a server for a few milliseconds, or if all other resources on the server are fully utilized. (Shihang is a Brown CS Master's student; the other collaborators are at MIT, VMware, and Google).

    Finally, Georgios Liargkovas, Konstantinos Kallas, Michael Greenberg, and Nikos Vasilakis’s “Executing Shell Scripts in the Wrong Order, Correctly” proposes executing scripts out of order to better utilize underlying computational resources by optimizing at runtime and speculatively executing commands in an isolated and monitored environment to determine and contain their behavior. Their approach yields performance benefits of up to 3.9x for arbitrarily complex scripts without modifying their behavior, and it’s an extension of the PaSH system, which offers automated parallelization and distribution of shell scripts, along with correctness and compatibility guarantees. (Giorgos is a Brown CS visiting undergraduate student and Nikos is a Brown CS faculty member; their collaborators are at University of Pennsylvania and Stevens Institute of Technology.)

    We’re excited to see HotOS taking place at Brown, and to welcome the systems community to our home in Providence

    For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communications Manager Jesse C. Polhemus.