6.853 Readings

For each class meeting one hard-core technical paper is assigned. In addition, some background reading is suggested. You are expected to read the paper assigned in preparation of the class meeting. The student who presents the paper is also required to do some of the background reading. Other students are strongly encouraged to do at least a cursory read of the background material.

Electronic versions are linked where available; see the course secretary for paper copies. We will try to handout hardcopies of the assigned reading a week in advance in class.

September 4

Another good piece of advice on what is a good paper is Roy Levin's and David D. Redell's An evaluation of the ninth SOSP submissions, or how (and how not) to write a good systems paper. Operating Systems Review 17, 3 (July, 1983) pages 35-40.

September 9

For background read Computer Architecture: a quantative approach (2nd ed), by Hennesey and Patterson, Morgan Kaufmann publishers.

September 11

For additional motivation behind this paper checkout the Network of Workstation project. In particular, The case for NOW.

September 16

This paper uses the SimOS environment for simulating the architectural trends. Embra is the key component of the system that makes the SimOS environment fast enough so that real systems can be simulated. Since this paper is all about modern uniprocessors and multiprocessors, it might be helpful to check out Computer Architecture: a quantative approach (2nd ed), by Hennesey and Patterson, Morgan Kaufmann publishers.

Another interesting performance study is The Measured Performance of Personal Computer Operating Systems J.B. Chen, Y. Endo, K. Chan, D. Mazieres, A. Dias, M. Seltzer, M.D. Smith (Harvard). It uses the performance counters of the Pentium to study applications running on NetBSD, Windows95, Windows/NT.

September 18

There is quite a bit of current discussion on what an appropriate organization for an operating system is. This paper discusses one approach. Next week's paper discusses yet another approach. The On Micro-Kernel Construction paper, which also appeared in SOSP-15, argues the microkernel organization is just fine; one has to implement them right.

September 25

The SPIN paper discusses yet another approach to obtaining flexibility. The SPIN approach relies on downloading user modules written in a type-safe language into the operating system kernel. Checkout the SPIN page for more info. A related paper that investigates the type-safe languages for operating systems is Pilot: an operating system for a personal computer, by David D. Redell, Yogen K. Dalal, Thomas R. Horsley, Hugh C. Lauer, William C. Lynch, Paul R. McJones, Hal g. Murray, and Stephen C. Purcell, which appeared in Communications of the ACM, vol 23, no 2, February 1980, pages 81-92.

September 30

This paper discusses the design and implementation of a switch for an ATM-style network. Another good paper that describes a complete ATM-like network is Rodeheffer, Edwin H. Satterthwaite, and Charles P. Thacker. Autonet: A high-speed, self-configuring local area network using point-to-point Links. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 9, 8, (October 1991) pages 1318-1335. If you haven't read the Ethernet paper, you should read it: Robert M. Metcalfe and David R. Boggs. Ethernet: Distributed packet switching for local computer networks. Communications of the ACM 19, 7 (July, 1976) pages 395-404.

Some papers about ATM are: ATM Concepts, Architectures, and Protocols Ronald J. Vetter ATM Network: Goals and Challenges and B. G. Kim and P. Wang Communications of the ACM, Vol. 38, No. 2, February 1995.

October 2

This paper is a recent paper discussing protocol implementation issues. It contains references to many other good paper on performance of networking protocols. In the same SIGCOMM you will find many more papers on performance of protocols.

If you are unfamiliar with the Internet protocols, you should read The Design Philoshophy of the DARPA Internet Procotols David D. Clark, Proceedings of the 1988 SIGCOMM Symposium, pp 106-114, Stanford, CA, August 1988. Another good paper is An Analysis of TCP Processing Overhead David D. Clark, Van Jacobson, John Romkey, and Howard Salwen, IEEE Communications Magazine, Vol. 27, No. 6, 1989.

October 7

This paper describes a radically-different architecture for structuring networks: protocols are replaced by programs. As background reading you should read Architectural Considerations for a New Generation of Protocols, D.D. Clark and D.L. Tennenhouse, Proc. SIGCOMM 90 Symposium on Communications Architectures and Protocols, Philadelphia, PA, Sept. 1990, 200-208.

October 9

Another timely topic: mobile code. A different approaches are explored to run code safely in another domain. The destination domain can either be the kernel (as in SPIN, Exokernel, or Vino) or be another processor (as in Java and Omniware). The different techniques used to ensure safety are sandboxing (ie., software fault isolation), type-safe languages (SPIN and Java), and self-certifying code.

October 16

The papers in the previous class meeting demonstrate the need for security and discusses techniques. This paper describes a complete design and implementation of security in a distributed system. It uses authentication logic to reason about the security properties of the system. Check out "Authentication in distributed systems: theory and practice" by Lampson et al., ACM Trans. on Computer Systems, vol 10, no 4, Nov. 1992, pp 265-310 for the details on authentication logic.

October 21

This paper descibes what it takes to build an operating system capable of receiving an A1 rating. The various ratings are described in the Orange Book.

October 23

Petal is an ideal storage system with unlimited capacity, always available, and easy to manage. Petal is an alternative to RAID: Randy H. Katz, Garth A. Gibson, and David A. Patterson. Disk system architectures for high performance computing. Proceedings of the IEEE 77, 12 (December, 1989) pages 1842-1857.

October 28

The literature on file system is huge. The XFS file system is a state-of-the art file system supporting large files, large number of files, large directories, and high performance I/O. The background reading for this paper is Fast File System (FFS), McKusick, M. Joy, W. Leffler, S. Fabry, ACM Trans. on Computer Systems, Vol. 2, No. 3, Aug. 1984, pp. 181-197.

October 30

Serverless is a total misnomer, but the paper describes a radical approach to building distributed file systems. The background reading for this paper is RAID (see above), LFS (Mendel Rosenblum and John K. Ousterhout. The design and implementation of a log-structured file system. Proceedings of the Thirteenth ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, Pacific Grove, California October 13-16, 1991, pages 1-15), and Zebra (The Zebra Striped Network File System, J.K. Hartman and J.K. Ousterhout. Proceedings of the Fourteenth ACM Symposium on Operating System Principles, Asheville, California, pp. 29-43). The prototype serveless file system is called xFS, not to be confused with XFS (see above).

November 4

This paper is the first of two paper on global memory management from the University of Washington. The follow-on on this paper appeared last month at ASPLOS and discusses an optimization on the first paper. The optimization involves sending subpages instead of sending complete pages.

November 6

This paper presents a novel approach in the context of object-oriented databases on the many issues that showed in 6.853. Check out Thor for more information.

November 13

The topic for November 13 is searching in the Internet. A hot and fast moving area of research. To cover some of the different issue two light-weight papers are assigned. The first paper is one of the Harvest papers. The other paper is one of the first papers on Web crawlers. Of course, you are encourages to check out other search tools, such as Alta Vista, Yahoo, etc.

November 18

This is the first of two class meetings on mobile computing. We will first take an application perspective on mobile computing by studying Rover. Rover was inspired and builds on pioneering work done at CMU on Coda, a file system for disconnected computing. Mobile computing is a hot and growing research area; recently ACM started a new conference Mobicom on this topic.

November 20

In this class meeting we will take a networking perspective on mobile computing. In particular, we will focus on Mobile IP, a new protocol to make IP work when hosts are moving. Mobile IP is in the process of being standarized by the Mobile IP working group.

November 25

Early on the term we read about multiprocessors that provided distributed shared memory in hardware. This paper reports on the latest advance in implementing distributed shared memory on software. There are zillion of other papers on software distributed shared memory. It is probably the most popular PhD. thesis topic in systems of the last decade. The Shasta work references many of these other projects; feel free to check them all out.

November 27

A recent paper from DEC SRC on distributed network objects. Most of the issue discussed in this paper appear are at the hart of other systems, such as distributed OLE-2 (or Active-X), Java's Remote Method Invocation package, CORBA, etc. This paper is different from all the hype in that it gives a crisp and clear description of what the problems are, how these problems were solved, and what the performance issues are.

December 2

Dynamic code generation is a recent popular topic. This one of 3 papers that appeared at the last PLDI on this topic.

December 4

A cool paper to make video conferencing over the Internet better.