SOSP 2009 Program Available

The accepted papers for SOSP 2009 are here. As ever, some excellent looking papers. If you search for the titles you can often turn up drafts or even the submitted versions.

The best looking sessions to me are ‘scalability’ and ‘clusters’, but there’s at least one great looking title in every session. I’ll start posting some reviews once I find some bandwidth (and have finished the computation theory series – next one on its way).

Congratulations to all accepted authors!

OSDI '08: Corey, an operating system for many cores

Just before Christmas, the systems community held one of its premier conferences – Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI ’08). This biannual conference showcases some of the best research in operating systems, networks, distributed systems and software technology from the past couple of years.

Although I wasn’t lucky enough to go, I did grab a copy of the proceedings and had a read through a bunch of the papers that interested me. I plan to post summaries of a few to this blog. I see people ask repeatedly on various forums (fora?) “what’s new in computer science?”. No-one seems to give a satisfactory answer, for a number of reasons. Hopefully I can redress some of the balance here, at least in the systems world.

Without further ado, I’ll get stuck in to one of the OSDI papers: Corey: an operating system for many cores by Boyd-Wickizer et al from a combination of MIT, Fudan University, MSR Asia and Xi’an Jiaotong University (12 authors!). Download the paper and play along at home, as usual.
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Computer Science Course Notes

I’m collecting a list of good courses in fundamental computer science,
mostly advanced algorithms courses. The aim is to filter out less
interesting or lower quality courses with poorer teaching materials, and
to make a reference for further study.

None of this would be hard to find with a quick search, but hopefully
the ‘goodness’ filter will add some value. For that reason, I’m posting
the link here. Suggestions – particularly for advanced systems topics –
very welcome!

Computer science course notes

In Defense Of Computer Science

Computer science, as an academic discipline, has been the subject of a great deal of scrutiny lately. Of particular interest has been the worth of a CS degree to us, the fee-paying consumers who apparently want nothing more than to transform their college dollars into CV-ready bullet points that will smooth the path to the cubicle job of our dreams.Many of the arguments in these recent exchanges have been predictable. Java is used as a placeholder for all that is wrong with the subject, because teaching it as an introductory language sacrifices pedagogical merit for practical applicability. Proponents of its use retort that they’ll never use type theory anyhow, so what use is it learning it in the first place? The reply is that if they knew about it, they’d get a job where they had to know about it, and so on.

What has surprised me most is that no-one has stood up and defended computer science on its own merits: as an academic subject of some breathtaking beauty and profundity.

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