Tia Newhall: Parallel and Distributed Systems
My general research area is parallel and distributed systems. Currently, I'm focusing on the problem of providing system-level support for cluster computing through my Nswap project.
Nswap is a network swapping (or network RAM) system for Linux clusters. A cluster is a collection of interconnected computers (workstations or PCs each running an off-the-shelf OS), that run special software that makes them look and act as a single, large, parallel machine. Network swapping allows any cluster node with over-committed memory to use the idle memory of remote nodes for its backing store and to "swap" its pages over the network. As the disparity between network speeds and disk speeds continues to grow, network swapping will be faster than traditional swapping to local disk. Nswap is implemented as a loadable kernel module that runs entirely in kernel space on an unmodified Linux kernel. It transparently and efficiently provides network swapping to cluster applications. Nswap is designed to scale to larger clusters and to adapt to changes in each node's memory load.
My other research projects include: memory management systems for SMPs running a mixed parallel and sequential workload; and performance measurement of interpreted, JIT'ed and dynamically compiled programs.