The keynote at ROSS 2012 will be delivered by Timothy Roscoe, one of the key contributors to the Barrelfish OS project.

Timothy Roscoe

Computer Science Department
ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Keynote title: Supercomputing operating systems: a naive view from over the fence


To exaggerate unfairly, from the perspective of mainstream OS research, the supercomputing community has a very different idea of the role (and appropriate design) of an OS. HPC people regard the OS as an annoying source of noise, whereas the former crowd see it as a thing of wondrous beauty and elegance, a sine qua non of usable everyday computing.

This situation has existed without serious conflict erupting for years: OS researchers worried about PCs with one core (or, at most, a handful of cores) running a general-purpose OS and supporting a dynamic, bursty, diverse mix of hundreds of interactive, long-running, soft-realtime and/or background processes. Supercomputing people wanted one, highly parallel, program to finish as soon as possible so they could get on to the next one.

With multicore, this all changed: highly parallel tasks will be the norm for future general-purpose computing. In 2007, my colleagues and I eagerly embarked on a new research OS for multicore computing, and looked forward to applying long-ignored (in our field) results from the HPC realm to our system.

It didn't quite work out that way. In this talk I will look at what we found to be common to the two fields, and what we didn't, and speculate on where this might be going. I think there is a useful conversation to be had, and I'd like to help revive it.

Timothy Roscoe's Biography

Timothy Roscoe is a Professor in the Systems Group of the Computer Science Department at ETH Zurich, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He received a PhD from the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, where he was a principal designer and builder of the Nemesis operating system, as well as working on the Wanda microkernel and Pandora multimedia system. After three years building web-based collaboration systems at a startup company in North Carolina, Mothy joined Sprint's Advanced Technology Lab in Burlingame, California, working on application hosting platforms and networking monitoring. Mothy joined Intel Research at Berkeley in April 2002 as a principal architect of PlanetLab, an open, shared platform for developing and deploying planetary-scale services. In September 2006 he spent four months as a visiting researcher in the Embedded and Real-Time Operating Systems group at National ICT Australia in Sydney, before joining ETH Zurich in January 2007. His current research interests include operating systems for heterogeneous multicore systems and network architectures for ubquitous computing.