An AMP Blab about some recent system conferences – Part 2: SOCC 2011

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I recently had the pleasure of visiting Portugal for SOSP/SOCC, and New York for Hadoop World. Below are some bits that I found interesting. This is the personal opinion of an AMP Lab grad student – in no way does it represent any official or unanimous AMP Lab position.

Part 2: Symposium on Cloud Computing (SOCC) 2011

This year represents the second iteration of the conference. SOCC has certainly established itself as a noteworthy conference that brings together diverse computer system specialties. The proceedings are available through ACM. Perhaps SOCC would become a stand-alone venue next year, instead of being co-located with SIGMOD (last year) or SOSP (this year).

AMP Lab is fortunate to have inherited many members from its predecessor RAD Lab, which made some contributions in highlighting cloud computing as an important technology trend and emerging research area. The numerous SOCC papers on MapReduce optimizations and key-values stores continues the research paths that RAD Lab helped identify regarding MapReduce schedulers and scale-independent storage.

The program committee awarded three “papers of distinction”: 1. Pesto: Online Storage Performance Management in Virtualized Datacenters, 2. Opportunistic Flooding to Improve TCP Transmit Performance in Virtualized Clouds, 3. PrIter: A Distributed Framework for Prioritized Iterative Computations. I especially liked the TCP paper – the authors actually modified the TCP kernel, a painful task per my own past experience.

Our AMP Lab colleagues presented two talks – Improving Per-Node Efficiency in the Datacenter with New OS Abstractions (Barret Rhoden, Kevin Klues, David Zhu, and Eric Brewer), and Scaling the Mobile Millennium System in the Cloud (Timothy Hunter, Teodor Moldovan, Matei Zaharia, Justin Ma, Samy Merzgui, Michael Franklin, Pieter Abbeel, and Alexandre Bayen). Both went very well.

One train of thought that appeared several times – how do the system improvements demonstrated over artificial benchmarks translate to real life situations. Folks from different organizations raised this point during Q&A for several papers, with the response being the familiar lament regarding the shortage of large scale system traces available to academia. This prompted our friend John Wilkes from Google to give an 1-slide impromptu presentation highlighting the imminent public release of some large scale Google cluster traces, and inviting researchers to work with Google. I felt it helpful to do an 1-slide impromptu follow-up presentation highlighting that AMP Lab has access to large scale system traces from several different organizations, inviting researchers to work with AMP Lab and our industrial partners, and of course thanking our Google colleagues John Wilkes, Joseph L. Hellerstein, and others for their guidance on our early efforts to understand large scale system workloads.

Portugal travel note 2: Consider taking in the stunning sunset at Castelo de Sao Jorge, set against the 25 de Abril Bridge across the River Tejo, with the Cristo Rei Statue lit by bright light on the opposite side of the River. Walking about the medieval Castle in semi-darkness is a unique and almost haunting experience, provided you can muster the courage and the night-vision. Or just head to the Bairro Alto historical neighborhood and stuff yourself on fantastic local food.

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