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Seer: Probabilistic Scheduling for Hardware Transactional Memory

The ubiquity of multicore processors has led programmers to write parallel and concurrent applications to take advantage of the underlying hardware and speed up their executions. In this context, Transactional Memory (TM) has emerged as a simple and effective synchronization paradigm, via the familiar abstraction of atomic transactions. After many... (more)

The Hipster Approach for Improving Cloud System Efficiency

In 2013, U.S. data centers accounted for 2.2% of the country’s total electricity consumption, a figure that is projected to increase rapidly... (more)

Determining Application-Specific Peak Power and Energy Requirements for Ultra-Low-Power Processors

Many emerging applications such as the Internet of Things, wearables, implantables, and sensor... (more)

Corrigendum to “The IX Operating System: Combining Low Latency, High Throughput and Efficiency in a Protected Dataplane”

NEWS

New Editor-in-Chief

ACM Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS) welcomes Michael Swift as new Editor-in-Chief as of November 1, 2018. Michael is a Professor in the Computer Sciences Department at University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Forthcoming Articles
Ryoan: A Distributed Sandbox for Untrusted Computation on Secret Data

Users of modern data-processing services such as tax preparation or genomic screening are forced to trust them with data that the users wish to keep secret. Ryoan protects secret data while it is processed by services that the data owner does not trust. Accomplishing this goal in a distributed setting is difficult because the user has no control over the service providers or the computational platform. Confining code to prevent it from leaking secrets is notoriously difficult, but Ryoan benefits from new hardware and a request-oriented data model. Ryoan provides a distributed sandbox, leveraging hardware enclaves (e.g., Intels software guard extensions (SGX) to protect sandbox instances from potentially malicious computing platforms. The protected sandbox instances confine untrusted data-processing modules to prevent leakage of the users input data. Ryoan is designed for a request-oriented data model, where confined modules only process input once and do not persist state about the input. We present the design and prototype implementation of Ryoan and evaluate it on a series of challenging problems including email filtering, heath analysis, image processing and machine translation.

Building Consistent Transactions with Inconsistent Replication

Application programmers increasingly prefer distributed storage systems with strong consistency and distributed transactions (e.g., Googles Spanner) for their strong guarantees and ease of use. Unfortunately, existing transactional storage systems are expensive to use  in part because they require costly replication protocols, like Paxos, for fault tolerance. In this paper, we present a new approach that makes transactional storage systems more affordable: we eliminate consistency from the replication protocol while still providing distributed transactions with strong consistency to applications. We present TAPIR  the Transactional Application Protocol for Inconsistent Replication  the first transaction protocol to use a novel replication protocol, called inconsistent replication, that provides fault tolerance without consistency. By enforcing strong consistency only in the transaction protocol, TAPIR can commit transactions in a single round-trip and order distributed transactions without centralized coordination. We demonstrate the use of TAPIR in a transactional key-value store, TAPIR-KV. Compared to conventional systems, TAPIR-KV provides better latency and throughput.

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