Program committees, superpages, and compare-by-hash

Today's entry is a triple whammy; hope you enjoy. I swear I'll write something about ZFS soon.

I have to agree with some of Werner Vogels' comments in the discussion about encouraging industry participation in USENIX:

Having served on many program committees and having chaired a few also, I know that the hardest part of your job as PC chair is to get people from industry to join your committee. [...]
People from product groups often do not have the time or the interest to join a program committee, and it does not get rewarded within the standard product development work practice, so it would be something they have to do in the evening hours.
The same goes for paper writing by people from product groups, it is just not being done because there is no reward given within the enterprise for such an achievement (e.g. it will not not be a plus on your next performance review). A few papers from industry were written with support from managers, but in general they are volunteer efforts in the evening hours. [...]
In my view it is not as much the program or steering committees that are the problem here. If industry really wants more exposure through conferences they can only do so through investing in their own organization. Make it easier for engineers to write papers and serve on committees, and reward them for doing this.

Why, Werner, were you spying on me during all those weekends I spent reviewing papers down at the local coffee shop?

I couldn't agree more, companies need to encourage and reward participation in program committees and writing papers. Unfortunately, the onus for change still falls on the engineers, as, in general, management doesn't see any connection between conference participation and revenue. I recently gave a talk at Sun on academic publishing and its relevance to Sun's bottom line; feel free to adapt my slides for presentation at your company (or your division of Sun).

And for today's cool systems paper, I give you Practical, transparent operating system support for superpages. Superpages are also known as large pages or multiple page sizes; if you don't already know what I'm talking about by this point, I recommend just reading the abstract of this paper. I really liked this paper because it took what I regard as the correct approach to large pages: the decision about when to use large pages is done entirely in the operating system and requires no application modification at all (no cheating with silly linker tricks or launcher apps), and it improved the performance of a wide variety of everyday applications. The one part of the paper I dislike is the section on using compare-by-hash to detect dirty subpages; see my paper on compare-by-hash for why. Ironically, using compare-by-hash was a performance hit in this case; it frequently is in situations where the data is being compared locally. A draft paper I'm still working on discusses the performance tradeoffs in more detail.


Funny that I randomly read your entry through SUN blogs. I read your compare-by-hash paper recently and found it very interesting. I was planning to use compare by hash in my summer research project, but your paper has made me rethink this approach.

Posted by Can Sar on July 13, 2004 at 07:22 PM PDT #

! LaTeX Error: File `' not found.

Posted by Iouri Goussev on July 14, 2004 at 11:11 AM PDT #


I find that the terms loosely-coupled and asynchronous systems as scalable system structuring concepts are interpreted by many developers as 'using non-blocking techniques' to build the individual software components. These are somewhat related but...

Posted by All Things Distributed on July 15, 2004 at 04:13 AM PDT #


Congratulation to Val Henson for picking a great name for her weblog: Confessions of an Operating Systems Junkie.

Posted by All Things Distributed on July 15, 2004 at 04:16 AM PDT #

Val, Sorry for the trackback confusion, The first one escaped before I could correct it...

Posted by Werner on July 15, 2004 at 04:18 AM PDT #

Thanks, Iouri Goussev, for pointing out the LaTeX source doesn't build. I'm quite frankly amazed anyone attempted it. I added the missing file, which would be in tar.gz format if the blog software allowed it...

Posted by Val Henson on July 15, 2004 at 07:47 AM PDT #

So far, so good! I've been keeping my eye out for blogs with a more academic slant. Interesting papers so far! I'll keep reading, Evan Jones

Posted by Evan Jones on July 15, 2004 at 11:37 AM PDT #

Is zfs actually relevant in any technical way? Optimizing for file sizes based on extension? Come on, my little brother could do better than that.

Posted by joe on July 19, 2004 at 06:47 PM PDT #

Val, speaking of compare by hash, the recent thread on collisions in SHA-1, MD5 and others might be of interest. Of course I saw this on Slashdot so maybe you already know about it.

Posted by Fred Douglis on August 16, 2004 at 11:16 PM PDT #

[Trackback] Prologue It's time to introduce a new section to this blog, which was one of the original reasons I wanted my own website and not a blog off another, more economical site. The idea of doing this was inspired by Val Henson's blog (Val, if you see th...

Posted by The Imaginary Plane on August 18, 2004 at 11:12 AM PDT #

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