Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Computer Scientists Win Best Paper Award at ISPASS-2012

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Wenisch, Meisner, and Wu

U-M computer science researchers David Meisner, Junjie Wu, and Professor Thomas F. Wenisch have won the Best Paper Award at the 2012 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software (ISPASS-2012), which took place April 1-3, 2012 in New Brunswick, NJ.

The paper, entitled "BigHouse: A simulation infrastructure for data center systems," proposes BigHouse, a simulation infrastructure for data center systems. The researchers developed this in response to the recent explosive growth in Internet services, which has greatly increased the importance of data center systems. Applications served from "the cloud" are driving data center growth and quickly overtaking traditional workstations. Although there are many tools for evaluating components of desktop and server architectures in detail, conventional architecture simulators are often six orders of magnitude slower than the data center hardware they model, and scalable modeling tools are noticeably missing.

Instead of simulating servers using detailed microarchitectural models, BigHouse raises the level of abstraction. Using a combination of queuing theory and stochastic modeling, BigHouse can simulate server systems in minutes rather than hours. BigHouse leverages statistical simulation techniques to limit simulation turnaround time to the minimum runtime needed for a desired accuracy.

The paper describes the design of BigHouse and presents case studies for how it has already been applied to build and validate models of data center workloads and systems. Furthermore, it describes statistical techniques incorporated into BigHouse to accelerate and parallelize its simulations, and the authors demonstrate its scalability to model large cluster systems while maintaining reasonable simulation time.

Download BigHouse

The BigHouse software has been released to the public and is available at http://www.eecs.umich.edu/BigHouse/.

Prof. Wenisch received his PhD in electrical and computer engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007 and joined the faculty at Michigan that year. His research is focused on computer architecture with particular emphasis on multiprocessor and multicore systems, multicore programmability, data center architecture, and performance evaluation methodology. Prof. Wenisch was the recipient of an NSF CAREER award in 2009 and was named a Morris Wellman Faculty Development Assistant Professor of EECS in 2011. He is inventor on one patent and co-inventor on four patents.

Posted: April 18, 2012