[talks] Andrew Birrell's talk in room 105 this monday at 1:30-3pm

Kai Li li at CS.Princeton.EDU
Sat Apr 21 17:32:11 EDT 2007

Dr. Andrew Birrell will be giving a talk at the parallel architecture and
programming course in room 105 this Monday from 1:30 to 3pm.  This talk is
open to everyone (see the talk abstract below).

Andrew is an early key member of the Xerox Parc CSL where Altos PC was
invented.  His best known projects and publications include Grapevine (1981,
which included the first distributed naming system); his paper with Bruce
Nelson about implementing RPC (1983, for which they received the 1994 ACM
Software System Award); and his paper on programming with threads (1989).

Mutual Exclusion: Some History, Some Problems, and a Glimmer of Hope

Andrew Birrell and Michael Isard
Microsoft Research

In common with many system researchers, we have been worrying about how
mainstream programmers will be able to write concurrent programs:
concurrent programs that work correctly, that take appropriate advantage of
multiple processors, and that will continue to work correctly after the
superstar programmers move on to their next project. Obviously, the
motivation for this comes from the increasing use of interactive
applications that use web-based services, and from the advent and prospect
of increasingly parallel mainstream computers. Our worry has taken two
forms, both of which will be explored in the talk. First, we have looked
back at the historical development of concurrent programming, to try to
understand the decisions that led us to our present state-of-the-art.
Second, we are looking forward to techniques that have promise to correct
the present dismal state. We hypothesize that by reducing or eliminating the
requirement for programmers to write explicit mutual exclusion code, we can
make progress. We present techniques that hold promise in this direction,
including a new proposal that we call "Automatic Mutual Exclusion".

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