Does Rigorous Computer Systems Research Demand Open Source Hardware?
Speaker: Simon Moore, University of Cambridge
Department: Electrical Engineering
Location: Engineering Quadrangle B205
Date/Time: Monday, May 13, 2013, 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Computer systems research relies heavily on open source software like the LLVM compiler framework, operating systems like FreeBSD and Linux, para virtualisation like Xen, etc. However, much of this research is bounded by the availability of commodity hardware which provides an unnecessary
fixed point in the design space exploration process. In this talk I argue that we need more open source and rigorously engineered hardware platforms to facilitate computer systems research which straddles traditional boundaries. To illustrate the point, the CHERI processor (a 64-bit RISC based capability machine soon to be open sourced) will be introduced together with observations from associated compilation (LLVM based) and operating system (FreeBSD based) research into fine grained sand boxing. By making changes all the way from the gate-level to the application-level we believe that much more secure computer systems can be constructed whilst providing a migration path for legacy systems.