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Gold and Fools Gold: Successes, Failures, and Futures in Computer Systems Research Butler Lampson Microsoft Usenix Annual Meeting June 2, 2006.

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Presentation on theme: "Gold and Fools Gold: Successes, Failures, and Futures in Computer Systems Research Butler Lampson Microsoft Usenix Annual Meeting June 2, 2006."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gold and Fools Gold: Successes, Failures, and Futures in Computer Systems Research Butler Lampson Microsoft Usenix Annual Meeting June 2, 2006

2 Context: Moores Law and Friends months for 2 x 10 years6/2006 best 6/2006 cost Processing18100 x2x4 GIPS$20/GIPS Storage (disk) 121,000 x750 GB$0.35/GB LAN BW18100 x1 GB/s$1/MB/s WAN BW121,000 x4 GB/s$1000/MB/s/mo Display pixels36010 x4 M$100/M Implication: spend hardware to simplify software. Huge components work (operating system, database, browser) Better hardware enables new applications. Complexity goes into software.

3 What is computing good for? Simulation1950nuclear weapons, protein folding, payroll, games, virtual reality Communication (storage) 1980email, airline tickets, books, movies, Google, Terraserver Embodiment (physical world) 2010factories, cars, robots, smart dust

4 Simulation: Protein Folding UNFOLDING OF THE DNA BINDING DOMAIN OF HIV INTEGRASE HIV uses proteins to insert its genetic code into our DNA. The DNA binding domain of HIV integrase (below) is the protein which HIV uses to grab onto our DNA such that it can then connect its genetic code into ours.

5 Communication: Maps and Pictures

6 Embodiment: Roomba Vacuum 256 bytes of RAM, $199

7 YES Virtual memory *Address spaces *Packet nets Objects / subtypes RDB and SQL *Transactions *Bitmaps and GUIs Web Algorithms History: What Worked? NO (Not Yet?) *Capabilities *Fancy type systems Functional programming *Formal methods Software engineering *RPC (except for Web) *Distributed computing Persistent objects *Security RISC

8 History: What Worked? MAYBE Parallelism (but now we really need it) Garbage collection Interfaces and specifications Reuse / components Works forUnix filters Platforms Big things (OS, DB, browser) Flaky for Ole/COM/Web services

9 The Failure of Systems Research nWe didnt invent the Web nWhy not? Too simple o Old idea But never tried o Wasteful But its fast enough o Flaky But it doesnt have to work nDenial: It doesnt scale o Only from 100 to 100,000,000

10 The Future: Motherhood Challenges nCorrectness nScaling nParallelism nReuse nTrustworthiness nEase of use

11 Jim Grays challenges 1.The Turing test: win the impersonation game 30% of the time. Read and understand as well as a human. Think and write as well as a human. 2.Hear and speak as well as a person: speechtext. 3.See and recognize as well as a person. 4.Remember what is seen and heard; quickly return it on request. 5.Answer questions about a text corpus as well as a human expert. Then add sounds, images. 6.Be somewhere else: observe (tele-past), interact (tele-present). 7.Devise an architecture that scales up by 10 6. 8.Programming: Given a specification, build a system that implements the spec. Do it better than a team of programmers. 9.Build a system used by millions, administered by ½ person. Prove it only services authorized users. Prove it is almost always available: (out < 1 second / 100 years)

12 A Grand Challenge: nA pure computer science problem nNeeds o Computer vision o World models for roads and vehicles o Dealing with uncertainty about sensor inputs, vehicle performance, changing environment o Dependability Reduce highway traffic deaths to zero

13 What is dependability? nFormally, the system meets its spec o We have the theory needed to show this formally o But doing it doesnt scale o And worse, we cant get the formal spec right Though we can get partial specs right Sorry, cant find any more bugs. nInformally, users arent surprised o Depends on user expectations Compare 1980 AT&T with cellphones How well does the market work for dependability?

14 How much dependability? nHow much do we have? It varies o As much as the market demands Is there evidence of market failure? o Almost any amount is possible If you restrict the aspirations In other words, theres a tradeoff nHow much do we need? It varies o But safety-critical apps are growing fast o Whats the value of a life? Wild inconsistency Look at British railways nDependable vs. secure

15 Measuring dependability nProbability of failure o From external events o From internal malfunction complexity (LOC) good experience (testing etc.) nCost of failure o Injury or death o External damage Business interruption Breakage Bad PR o TCO nWhats the budget? Who gets fired?

16 Dependability through redundancy? nGood in its place nBut need independent failures o Cant usually get it for software Example: Ariane 5 o Even harder for specs The unavoidable price of reliability is simplicityHoare nAnd a way to combine the results

17 Dependable No catastrophes nA realistic way to reduce aspirations o Focus on whats really important nWhats a catastrophe? o It has to be very serious o Must have some numeric measure Dollars, lives? Say $100B, 1000 for terrorism Less controversial: Bound it by size of CCB nMust have a threat model: what can go wrong o Probabilities must enter o But how?

18 Examples of catastrophes nUSS Yorktown nTerac 25 and other medical equipment nLoss of crypto keys nDestruction of big power transformers nAre there any computer-only catastrophes?

19 Misleading examples of catastrophes nAvionics, nuclear reactors o Most attention has gone here o But they are atypical Lots of stuff has to work Shutdown is impossible or very complex nImpossible goals o Never lose a life. Maybe OK for radiation No good for driving o No terrorist incidents o No downtime

20 Catastrophe prevention that hasnt worked nTrusted computing base for security nElectric power grid nAir traffic control o The spec said 3 seconds down/year/workstation

21 Architecture Catastrophe Mode nNormal operation vs. catastrophe mode o Catastrophe mode high assurance CCB nCatastrophe mode requires o Clear, limited goals = limited functionality Hence easier than security o Strict bounds on complexity Less than 50k lines of code? nCatastrophe mode is not a retrofit

22 Catastrophe mode nWhat it does o Hard stop (radiation therapy) Might still require significant computing o Soft stop (driving a car) Might require a lot of the full functionality, but the design center is very different o Drastically reduced function (ship engines) nHow it does it o Take control, by reboot or hot standby o Censor (no radiation if limits exceeded) o Shed functions

23 Techniques nRebootdiscard corrupted state nShed load nShed functions nIsolate CCB, with minimal configuration nTransactions with acceptance test o Approval pages for financial transactions nUndo and rollback nWell-tested components o Unfortunately, successful components are very big

24 Learning from security nPerfection is not for this world o The best is the enemy of the good o Set reasonable goals nDependability is not free o Customers can understand tradeoffs o Though perhaps they undervalue TCO nDependability is holistic nDependability is fractal

25 Dealing with Uncertainty nUnavoidable in dealing with the physical world o Need good models of what is possible o Need boundaries for the models nUnavoidable for natural user interfaces: speech, writing, language o The machine must guess; what if it guesses wrong? nGoal: see, hear, speak, move as well as a person. Better? nTeach as well as a person?

26 Example: Speech Understanding nAcoustic input: waveform (speech + noise) nFeatures: compression nPhonemes nWords: dictionary nPhrases: Language model nMeaning: Domain model Uncertainty at each stage.

27 Example: Robots nWhere am I? nWhat is going on? nWhat am I trying to do? nWhat should I do next? nWhat happened?

28 Paradigm?: Probability Distributions nCould we have distributions as a standard data type? o Must be parameterized over the domain (like lists) nWhat are the operations? nBasic problem (?): Given distribution of x, compute distribution of f(x). o Hard when x appears twice in f – independence

29 Conclusions for Engineers nUnderstand Moores law nAim for mass markets o Computers are everywhere nLearn how to deal with uncertainty nLearn how to avoid catastrophe

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