My research group has two main thrusts. First, my group focuses on the design of future computing architectures and software systems for data centers and cloud computers. Second, my research group investigates the broad area of green computing including how to minimize the impact of computing systems on the environment and how to design computer systems to be serviced and ultimately decommissioned in a sustainable manner.
The ever shrinking transistor and continuation of Moore’s Law has afforded the computer architect a wealth of transistor resources. Using these transistors to increase the performance of single processor systems is now at the point of diminishing returns. As humanity still desires higher performance computers, my research group and industry has turned to allocating additional transistors for parallel computing resources (more processor cores). A separate, but equally important trend is the growth of cloud computing systems, which has been fueled by the economies of scale derived from centrally managing computers. The ability for a user to leverage computing in an on-demand fashion and treat computation as a true commoditized utility enables new classes of computation and opens the door for the average programmer to solve problems unthinkable without the ability to easily harness huge amounts of computation. We are investigating the intersection of manycore computers and cloud systems. Many challenging problems need to be solved in order to build the cloud computer of twenty years in the future. My group is investigating how to build the chips, interconnect, system design, heating, cooling, power distribution, and software to fuel the 5000 core chip integrated into a million core data center of the future.
The environment is one of humanities most important resources. It sustains life and without a suitable environment, humanity may cease to exist. Unfortunately, advances in computing systems have largely come at the expense of the environment. The never ending computer upgrade cycle has created large amounts of e-waste. In my research group, we are investigating how to create computing systems which are sustainable across the entire life-cycle of the system. This work not only aims to reduce the power and environmental operational impact of computer systems, but also the impact of computing systems after they have become obsolete. We are focusing on how to design computing systems such that they can be recycled easier, they can be serviced and upgraded easier to increase their usable lifetime, and how to design computer chips and systems such that they can be dismantled in the most environmentally friendly manner.