Capable and accessible infrastructure is an accelerant for good research, as it enables creative people to quickly and effectively explore new ideas. In this talk I will reflect upon my experiences with the SimpleScalar tool set, an open-source simulation infrastructure that has been employed by more than 5,500 published papers. I will use SimpleScalar as a case for why more researchers should release their tools, and I will share with you my best advice for building and distributing research infrastructure. Finally, I will speculate on the future of computer engineering research tools, and suggest where budding infrastructure hackers might want to spend their efforts.
Todd Austin is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His research interests include computer architecture, robust and secure system design, hardware and software verification, and performance analysis tools and techniques. Currently Todd is director of C-FAR, the Center for Future Architectures Research, a multi-university SRC/DARPA funded center that is seeking technologies to scale the performance and efficiency of future computing systems. Prior to joining academia, Todd was a Senior Computer Architect in Intel's Microcomputer Research Labs, a product-oriented research laboratory in Hillsboro, Oregon. Todd is the first to take credit (but the last to accept blame) for creating the SimpleScalar Tool Set, a popular collection of computer architecture performance analysis tools. Todd is co-author (with Andrew Tanenbaum) of the undergraduate computer architecture textbook, "Structured Computer Architecture, 6th Ed." In addition to his work in academia, Todd is founder and President of SimpleScalar LLC and co-founder of InTempo Design LLC. In 2002, Todd was a Sloan Research Fellow, and in 2007 he received the ACM Maurice Wilkes Award for "innovative contributions in Computer Architecture including the SimpleScalar Toolkit and the DIVA and Razor architectures." Todd received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1996.
Every integrated circuit is released with latent bugs. The damage and risk implied by an escaped bug ranges from almost imperceptible to potential tragedy; unfortunately it is impossible to discern within this range before a bug has been exposed and analyzed. While the past few decades have witnessed significant efforts to improve verification methodology for hardware systems, these efforts have been far outstripped by the massive complexity of modern digital designs, leading to product releases for which an always smaller fraction of system’s state has been verified. The news of escaped bugs in large market designs and safety critical domains is alarming because of safety and cost implications (due to replacements, lawsuits, etc.).
This talk will present some of our solutions to solve the verification challenge, such that users of future microprocessors can be assured that their devices will operate completely free of bugs. We will attack the problem after deployment in the field, discussing novel solutions which can correct escaped bugs after a system has been shipped.
Valeria Bertacco is an Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in the area of design correctness, with emphasis on digital system reliability, post-silicon and runtime validation, and hardware-security assurance. Valeria joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 2003, after being in the Advanced Technology Group of Synopsys for four years as a lead developer of Vera and Magellan. During the Winter of 2012, she was on sabbatical at the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology.
Valeria is the author of three books on design errors and validation. She received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University in 1998 and 2003, respectively; and a Computer Engineering degree ("Dottore in Ingegneria") summa cum laude from the University of Padova, Italy in 1995. Valeria is the recipient of the IEEE CEDA Early Career Award, NSF CAREER award, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research's Young Investigator award, the IBM Faculty Award and the Vulcans Education Excellence Award from the University of Michigan.