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System design principles for intelligent applications

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Talk in Samsung AI Center Cambridge

Title: System design principles for intelligent applications

Speaker: Pramod Bhatotia (University of Edinburgh)—

Host: Nic Lane

Please RSVP if attending to:

Monday 10th September, 3PM


Parallel and distributed systems are a pervasive component of the modern computing environment. Today, large-scale geo-distributed data-centers coupled with the computing resources available at the edge and clients/IoT devices have become ubiquitous. This computing infrastructure consists of 100s of thousands of heterogeneous computing resources comprising general-purpose multicores, energy-efficient cores, specialized accelerators such as GPUs, FPG As, etc. Such computing infrastructure powers not only some of the most popular consumer Internet services, scientific, and enterprise workloads, but also a growing number data-driven intelligent applications in the cyber-physical ecosystem. Due to the growing importance of these diverse applications, my research focuses on building software systems for this modern heterogenous computing infrastructure that provides fundamental trade-offs in performance, security, reliability, and (operational) cost.

In this talk, I will present three system design principles targeting modern hardware and applications: reliability, security, and scalability. More specifically, I will cover three example projects to showcase these design principles: (1) Reliability: How to leverage new ISA extensions to build reliable software systems; (2) Security: How to build secure systems for the underlying untrusted computing infrastructure using a combination of trusted execution environments (TEEs) and small trusted computing base (TCB); and (3) Scalability: How to seamlessly support ever growing application workload with increasing number of cores, and at the same time, embracing the heterogeneity in the underlying computing platform.

As I will show in the talk, we follow these design principles at all levels of the software stack covering operating system, storage/file-system, compiler and run-time libraries, and all the way to building distributed middleware. Our approach transparently supports existing applications—we neither require a radical departure from the current models of programming nor complex, error-prone application-specific modifications.


Pramod Bhatotia is a Senior Lecturer of Computer Science at the University of Edinburgh, and a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. Before moving to the UK, Pramod was an Independent Research Group Leader in the (cfaed) Cluster of Excellence at TU Dresden, where he led the Parallel and Distributed Systems group. Pramod graduated with a PhD from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS), Germany. Prior to joining MPI -SWS, Pramod worked as a member of technical staff in the High Performance Computing (HPC) group at IBM Research. More info is available on his homepage:

Talk Location:

SAMSUNG AI Center Cambridge 4th Floor, Jupiter House—10 Station Road Cambridge CB1 2JB

This talk is part of the Samsung AI Center Cambridge series.

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