Peter Chen Named ACM Fellow   Bookmark and Share

Peter Chen, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been named an ACM Fellow by the Association for Computing Machinery for his "significant contributions to reliable storage and virtual machines."

Prof. Chen's work in reliable storage systems spans three classes of storage devices; disk arrays, reliable memory, and distributed file systems.

As part of the Berkeley RAID project, he conducted some of the earliest work on redundant arrays of inexpensive disks, including the first performance evaluation of disk arrays and the first algorithm for optimizing data striping across disks. He was an architect for two of the earliest RAID prototypes and was primary author of a major survey paper on disk arrays, an article that has since been cited more than 1000 times. Disk arrays are now the primary vehicle for providing high-performance, fault-tolerant data storage and form the basis of a multi-billion dollar per year industry.

His project on reliable main memory showed how to store persistent data in main memory safely - despite operating system and application crashes - by adding virtual-memory protection, redundant data indices, and minimalist write-back routines. He took the unusual step of verifying the reliability of these techniques quantitatively through extensive fault-injection experiments, and these techniques and tools have since spread to other researchers in the operating system community. His work on reliable main memory won best paper awards at top conferences in fault-tolerant systems (FTCS/DSN) and databases (VLDB) and presaged the current interest in integrating persistent-memory technologies such as PCM.

He made fundamental improvements to the performance and consistency of local and distributed file systems by applying speculative execution and causal tracking. By shifting the recipient of guarantees made by the file system, he and his colleagues built the first file system that guaranteed strong, synchronous durability for file updates and also provided fast performance for those updates. This result upended conventional wisdom, which for 25 years has held that synchronous durability and fast performance were fundamentally at odds. This work won two best paper awards at the top conferences in operating systems (SOSP and OSDI).

In addition to his contributions to reliable storage, Chen has pioneered ways to use virtual machines to add security services that function even after the operating system is compromised. His work on virtual machines enabled new ways to diagnose, analyze, and recover from computer intrusions.

Prof. Chen received his master's and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from University of California, Berkeley, in 1989 and 1992 respectively, and his Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1987. He joined the University of Michigan in 1993, and was named a Thurnau Professor in 2007. He is a Fellow of IEEE and currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for ACM Transactions on Computer Systems.

Prof. Chen is affiliated with the department's Software Systems Lab and Advanced Computer Architecture Lab.

About the ACM Fellows Program

Initiated in 1993, the ACM Fellows Program celebrates the exceptional contributions of the leading members in the computing field. These individuals have helped to enlighten researchers, developers, practitioners, and end-users of information technology throughout the world. Their accomplishments play a crucial role in driving innovations that are necessary to sustain competitiveness in an information-based society.

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Posted: December 8, 2010