Future Computing Platforms: Challenges and Opportunities

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Future Computing Platforms: Challenges and Opportunities
Thursday, February 8, 2024 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Gates B12
Onur Mutlu - ETH Zurich
Abstract / Description: 

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Computing is bottlenecked by data. Large amounts of application data overwhelm the storage capability, communication capability, and computation capability of the machines we design today.  As a result, many key applications' performance, efficiency and scalability are bottlenecked by poor data handling in modern computing systems.

This lecture covers some key problems that are critical to solve in current and future computing platforms.  We show how the computer memory system greatly affects all key metrics we care about, including security, reliability, performance, energy efficiency, predictability, and the enablement of key new applications. Memory's importance is strongly felt today due to critical technology scaling issues at the circuit & device layers as well as greatly increasing demand for data and its fast & efficient analysis at the system & software layers.

We will explore at least two major specific challenges. First, the RowHammer vulnerability and how it threatens the robustness of computing systems we rely on in almost all aspects of our lives. Second, the processor-centric design paradigm of computers that fundamentally wastes prohibitive amounts of energy and performance. We will describe solution ideas and directions to make future computing systems fundamentally robust and fundamentally efficient & high-performance, including intelligent memory controllers, system-memory co-design, and memory-centric computing. If time permits, we will also briefly delve into algorithm-architecture co-design for data-intensive workloads. We will conclude with some guiding principles for future computing platform designs. 


Onur Mutlu is a Professor of Computer Science at ETH Zurich. He is also a Visiting Professor at Stanford University and a faculty member at Carnegie Mellon University, where he previously held the Strecker Early Career Professorship. His current broader research interests are in computer architecture, systems, hardware security, and bioinformatics. A variety of techniques he, along with his group and collaborators, has invented over the years have influenced industry and have been employed in commercial microprocessors and memory/storage systems. He obtained his PhD and MS in ECE from the University of Texas at Austin and BS degrees in Computer Engineering and Psychology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He started the Computer Architecture Group at Microsoft Research (2006-2009), and held various product and research positions at Intel Corporation, Advanced Micro Devices, VMware, and Google. He received various honors for his research, including the Persistent Impact Prize of the Non-Volatile Memory Systems Workshop, Intel Outstanding Researcher Award, IEEE High Performance Computer Architecture Test of Time Award, IEEE Computer Society Edward J. McCluskey Technical Achievement Award, ACM SIGARCH Maurice Wilkes Award and a healthy number of best paper or “Top Pick” paper recognitions at various computer systems, architecture, and security venues. He is an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, and an elected member of the Academy of Europe. His computer architecture and digital logic design course lectures and materials are freely available on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/OnurMutluLectures), and his research group makes a wide variety of software and hardware artifacts freely available online (https://safari.ethz.ch/). For more information, please see his webpage at https://people.inf.ethz.ch/omutlu/.