Colloquium Details

Big Data and Dark Silicon: Taming Two IT Inflection Points on a Collision Course

Speaker: Babak Falsafi, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne

Location: Warren Weaver Hall 1302

Date: January 26, 2016, 11:30 a.m.

Host: Mohamed Zahran


Information technology is now an indispensable pillar of a modern-day society, thanks to the proliferation of digital platforms in the past several decades. We are now witnessing two inflection points, however, that have changed IT as we know it. First, we have entered the Big Data era where demand on robust and economical data processing, communication and storage is growing faster than technology can sustain. Second, while forecasts indicate that chip density scaling will continue for another decade, the diminishing returns in digital platform energy efficiency and the impending "energy wall", is leading server designers towards energy-centric solutions and eventually Dark Silicon. In this talk, I will motivate these two IT trends and present promising research avenues for IT platform and infrastructure designers and operators to help mitigate these technological challenges.

Speaker Bio:

Babak is Professor in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences and the founding director of the EcoCloud research center investigating energy-efficient data-centric cloud technologies at EPFL. He has made numerous contributions to multiprocessor server design including an architecture underlying the Sun (now Oracle) WildFire/WildCat servers, memory system technologies incorporated in IBM BlueGene/P and Q, and server evaluation methodologies in use by AMD and HP. His latest contribution to characterizing server efficiency for scale-out services have laid the foundation for specialized server processors such as Cavium ThunderX. He is a recipient of an NSF CAREER award, IBM Faculty Partnership Awards, and an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship. He is a fellow of ACM and IEEE.


Refreshments will be offered starting 15 minutes prior to the scheduled start of the talk.

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