Reminder that Mothy Roscoe and Ihsan Qazi will be giving talks tomorrow.

Please sign up to meet with them!

Thursday, CSE 305, 11am
Mothy Roscoe, ETH Zurich
Enzian: Research Computer

Thursday, CSE 305, 12pm
Ihsan Qazi, LUMS
Understanding Internet Access in the Developing World


Enzian: Research Computer

Academic research in rack-scale and datacenter computing
today is hamstrung by lack of hardware.  Cloud providers and hardware
vendors build custom accelerators, interconnects, and networks for
commercially important workloads, but university researchers are stuck
with commodity, off-the-shelf parts.

Enzian is a research computer developed at ETH Zurich in collaboration
with Cavium and Xilinx which addresses this problem.  An Enzian board
consists of a server-class ARMv8 SoC tightly coupled and coherent with
a large FPGA (eliminating PCIe), with about 0.5 TB DDR4 and about 600
Gb/s of network I/O either to the CPU (over Ethernet) or directly to
the FPGA (potentially over custom protocols).  Enzian runs both
Barrelfish and Linux operating systems.

Many Enzian boards can be connected in a rack-scale machine (either
with or without a discrete switch), and the design is intended to
allow many different research use-cases: zero-overhead run-time
verification of software invariants, novel interconnect protocols for
remote memory access, hardware enforcement of access control in a
large machine, high-performance streaming analytics using a
combination of software and configurable hardware, and much more.
By providing a powerful and flexible platform for computer systems
research, Enzian aims to enable more relevant and far-reaching work on
future compute platforms.

Understanding Internet Access in the Developing World

In this talk, I will present my recent research on Internet access in
developing countries. In the first half of my talk, I will present a study
on the characteristics of mobile devices in developing regions. Using a
dataset of 0.5 million subscribers from one of the largest cellular
operators in Pakistan, I will present an analysis of cell phones being used
based on different features (e.g., CPU, memory, and cellular interface).
Our analysis reveals potential device-level bottlenecks for Internet
access, which can inform infrastructure design for improving mobile web
performance. (This work appeared in ACM IMC 2016) Another accessibility
challenge in developing countries is the rise in Internet censorship
events, which can have a substantial impact on various stakeholders in the
Internet ecosystem (e.g., users, content providers, ISPs, and advertisers).
In the second half of my talk, I will discuss how Internet censorship poses
an economic threat to online advertising, which plays an essential role in
enabling the free Web by allowing publishers to monetize their services.
Then I will describe a system we designed that enables relevant ads while
retaining the effectiveness of censorship resistance tools (e.g., Tor).
(This work appeared in ACM HotNets 2017)
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