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New England Database Society

Friday, May 3, 2013

sponsored by HP Vertica


   SwissBox: redesigning systems from the ground up

Gustavo Alonso
ETH Zurich

Friday, May 17, 2013, 4PM
HP/Vertica Computer Science Lounge (Volen 104), Brandeis University

(preceded by a wine and cheese reception at 3:30 pm)


Big data and the NoSQL movement are just manifestations of a number of trends on the way data is processed and the type of services built on top of data. One the one hand, mobile telephones, social networks, on-line advertisement, and the proliferation of digital services have resulted in unseen demands on existing data platforms. On the other hand, the complexity of the queries, the need to support strict SLAs, and the wide variety of data types call for new approaches in the design of data processing engines. At the same time, the underlying hardware platforms are evolving at an amazing speed, changing many of the established assumptions about how to build software systems.

In this talk I will cover SwissBox, a long term, umbrella project at the Systems Group at ETH Zurich, where we are redesigning data processing engines from the ground up. The project covers from hardware acceleration and operating system - database codesign, to radically new ways of organizing the engine's architecture and novel strategies to exploit multi-core hardware. Part of the system is already used commercially and the results obtained so far indicate the performance and the guarantees that can be provided with the new architecture exceed by orders of magnitude what can be achieved today.

Speaker's Bio:

Gustavo Alonso is a professor at the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich in Switzerland. At ETHZ, he is part of the Systems Group and the Enterprise Computing Center. Gustavo has a degree in electrical engineering from the Madrid Technical University in Spain and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara. Before joining ETH, he worked at the IBM Almaden Research Center. Gustavo's research interests encompass almost all aspects of systems, from design to run time. Most of his research these days is related to multi-core architectures, large clusters, FPGAs, and cloud computing, with an emphasis on adapting traditional system software (OS, database, middleware) to these new hardware platforms.

Gustavo is a Fellow of the ACM and Senior Member of the IEEE. He has been awarded the AOSD 2012 Most Influential Paper Award, the VLDB 2010 Ten Year Best Paper Award, and the ICDCS 2009 Best Paper Award for work on Remote Direct Memory Access. He has served in the VLDB Endowment, the ACM/IFIP/IEEE Middleware Steering Committee, as an associate editor of the VLDB Journal, Chair of EuroSys, and General Chair or PC-chair/vice-chair in numerous conferences (VLDB, ICDE, Middleware, BPM, ICDCS, IEEE MDM).

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