Archives—August 2019

Meet and Greet with Dean Adrienne Minerick

College of Computing Dean Adrienne Minerick

All College of Computing new, transfer, and returning undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff are invited to an ice cream social to meet and talk with Dean Minerick and College of Computing faculty and staff.

Date: Wednesday, September 18

Time: 3:00 to 5:00 pm

Location: Rovano Patio, Outside the Library Cafe


Update Performed on All On-domain Linux Systems

An update has been performed on all on-domain Linux systems.

OpenJDK 11 is now the default java version for Red Hat Enterprise Linux systems that are on-domain, in all open Linux labs, and on most office workstations.

The legacy java version 8 (aka java 1.8) is still available in both Open java and Oracle java flavors. However, they are deprecated and unsupported which means they will be removed in the future.

In order to use a non-default java version, set the JAVA_HOME environment variable to the version’s installation location and add it’s bin directory to the PATH in the Bash shell.

The following are some useful shell commands, including the paths to the various java versions:

### SELECT VERSION
# If setting Java Version to 8
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk
# If setting to Oracle Java 8
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/java/jdk1.8.0_181-amd64
# If setting Java version back to 11 (default)
export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk/
### END VERSION SELECT
# Add JAVA_HOME to beginning of your path export PATH=”${JAVA_HOME}/bin:$PATH”
# Verify Version
java -version

If you have any questions about the Linux update, email IT at it-help@mtu.edu, call 487-1111, or visit www.mtu.edu/it.


GenCyber Camp for Teachers Garners Local Media Coverage

Michigan Tech hosted two week-long GenCyber camps this summer. The first, held June 17–21, 2019, hosted 30 local middle/high school students. The second camp, August 12–16, 2019, hosted 21 local K-12 teachers. Camp participants gained cybersecurity knowledge, understood correct and safe online behavior, and explored ways to deliver cybersecurity content in K-12 curricula.

A story about the GenCyber teacher camp was reported on August 16, 2019, by TV6: “GenCyber cyber security training camp comes to Michigan Tech” and on August 13, 2019, by the Keweenaw Report: “Teachers Learn How To Include Cybersecurity In Their Lessons.”

Learn more about the camps on the Institute of Computing and Cybersystems blog: https://blogs.mtu.edu/icc/2019/06/04/inspiring-the-next-generation-of-cyber-stars-2/.


Soner Onder Presents Talk in Barcelona, Spain

Soner Onder is pictured on the right in the front.

Sonder Onder (SAS), professor of computer science, presented an invited talk at “Yale:80: Pushing the Envelope of Computing for the Future,” held July 1-2, 2019, in Barcelona, Spain. The workshop was organized by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in honor of the 80th birthday of Yale Patt, a prominent computer architecture researcher. Onder was one of 23 invitees to give a talk. His lecture was titled, “Program semantics meets architecture: What if we did not have branches?”

View the slides from Onder’s talk: Yale80-in-2019-Soner-Onder

Yale Patt is a professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Ernest Cockrell, Jr. Centennial Chair in Engineering. He also holds the title of University Distinguished Teaching Professor. Patt was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2014, among the highest professional distinctions bestowed upon an engineer. View Patt’s faculty webpage at: http://www.ece.utexas.edu/people/faculty/yale-patt.

Link to the workshop’s website here: http://research.ac.upc.edu/80-in-2019/

Visit the workshop’s Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/BSCCNS/posts/workshop-yale-80-in-2019pushing-the-envelope-of-computing-for-the-futurehttprese/2217508564992996/

Soner Onder, Barcelona, Spain
Soner Onder at Sagrada Família, Barcelona, Spain

Soner Onder Presents Keynote at SAMOS XIX

Soner Onder
Soner Onder

Soner Onder (SAS), professor of computer science, presented a keynote lecture July 8, 2019, at the International Conference on Embedded Computer Systems: Architectures, Modeling and Simulation (SAMOS XIX) on Samos Island, Greece, which was held July 7-11. Onder’s talk was titled, “Form Follows Function: The Case for Homogeneous Computer Architectures.” Onder also participated in the conference’s “The Annual Open Mike Panel.”

Keynote Lecture Abstract: ”Form follows function” is a principle associated with 20th-century modernist architecture and industrial design which says that the shape of a building or object should primarily relate to its intended function or purpose”[2]. For best performance in computer architecture, form must follow function as well. What are form and function in computer architecture? Form is easy to understand and interpret in its dictionary meaning; Function is not so clear-cut. In this talk, I will start with a simple problem, an algorithm, and a basic program representation that will be interpreted by the machine, and show that delivering high performance rests on solving only a handful, but fundamentally difficult problems. I will argue that the mere existence of domain specific solutions that general purpose computing cannot match in performance is a testament that the general purpose computing is ”not general enough”. What makes an architecture ”not general enough” is not the architecture itself, but rather the mismatch between the function its form had followed and the actual semantics of programs. To illustrate the point, I will challenge the widely understood interpretation of instruction-level parallelism (ILP) as ”single-thread performance”, and show that this interpretation is too short-sighted. We can efficiently exploit all types of available parallelism, including process-level, thread-level and data level parallelism, all at the instruction-level, and this approach is both feasible and necessary to combat the complexity that is plaguing our profession. I will then discuss why an executable single-assignment program representation [1] may be the ultimate function whose implementations may result in homogeneous general purpose architectures that can potentially match the performance of accelerators for specific tasks, while exceeding the performance of any accelerator traditional architecture combination for general tasks. I will conclude by discussing our results with Demand-driven Execution (DDE), whose form follows this single-assignment program representation.

About SAMOS (from http://samos-conference.com/): SAMOS is a unique conference. It deals with embedded systems (sort of) but that is not what makes it different. It brings together every year researchers from both academia and industry on the quiet and inspiring northern mountainside of the Mediterranean island of Samos, which in itself is different. But more importantly, it really fosters collaboration rather than competition. Formal and intensive technical sessions are only held in the mornings.A lively panel or distinguished keynote speaker ends the formal part of the day, and leads nicely into the afternoons and evenings — reserved for informal discussions, good food, and the inviting Aegean Sea. The conference papers will be published by Springer’s Lecture Notes in Computer Science – LNCS and will be included in the DBLP Database.

Samos Island, Greece
Samos Island, Greece

Ali Ebnenasir is Co-author of Article in ACM Transactions on Computational Logic

Ali EbnenasirAli Ebnenasir (SAS/CS), professor of computer science, is co-author of the article, “On the verification of livelock-freedom and self-stabilization on parameterized rings,” published in the July 2019 issue of the journal ACM Transactions on Computational Logic. The article is co-authored by Alex Klinkhamer of Google.

Abstract: This article investigates the verification of livelock-freedom and self-stabilization on parameterized rings consisting of symmetric, constant space, deterministic, and self-disabling processes. The results of this article have a significant impact on several fields, including scalable distributed systems, resilient and self-* systems, and verification of parameterized systems. First, we identify necessary and sufficient local conditions for the existence of global livelocks in parameterized unidirectional rings with unbounded (but finite) number of processes under the interleaving semantics. Using a reduction from the periodic domino problem, we show that, in general, verifying livelock-freedom of parameterized unidirectional rings is undecidable (specifically, Π10-complete) even for constant space, deterministic, and self-disabling processes. This result implies that verifying self-stabilization for parameterized rings of self-disabling processes is also undecidable. We also show that verifying livelock-freedom and self-stabilization remain undecidable under (1) synchronous execution semantics, (2) the FIFO consistency model, and (3) any scheduling policy. We then present a new scope-based method for detecting and constructing livelocks in parameterized rings. The proposed semi-algorithm behind our scope-based verification is based on a novel paradigm for the detection of livelocks that totally circumvents state space exploration. Our experimental results on an implementation of the proposed semi-algorithm are very promising as we have found livelocks in parameterized rings in a few microseconds on a regular laptop. The results of this article have significant implications for scalable distributed systems with cyclic topologies.

Citation: Klinkhamer, A., & Ebnenasir, A. (2019). On the verification of livelock-freedom and self-stabilization on parameterized rings. ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, 20(3), 16:1-16:36. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3326456

MTU Digital Commons link: https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/michigantech-p/146/

ACM link: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3338853.3326456


Zhenlin Wang is Co-Author of Article in Parallel Programming Journal

Zhenlin Wang (SAS), professor of computer science, is co-author of the article, “Lightweight and accurate memory allocation in key-value cache,” published in the June 2019 issue of the International Journal of Parallel Programming, which is published by Springer.

Abstract: The use of key-value caches in modern web servers is becoming more and more ubiquitous. Representatively, Memcached as a widely used key-value cache system, originally intended for speeding up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load. One of the key factors affecting the performance of Memcached is the memory allocation among different item classes. How to obtain the most efficient partitioning scheme with low time and space consumption is a focus of attention. In this paper, we propose a lightweight and accurate memory allocation scheme in Memcached, by sampling access patterns, analyzing data locality, and reassigning the memory space. One early study on optimizing memory allocation is LAMA, which uses footprint-based MRC to optimize memory allocation in Memcached. However, LAMA does not model deletion operations in Memcached and its spatial overhead is quite large. We propose a method that consumes only 3% of LAMA space and can handle read, write and deletion operations. Moreover, evaluation results show that the average stable-state miss ratio is reduced by 15.0% and the average stable-state response time is reduced by 12.3% when comparing our method to LAMA.

Citation: Pan, C., Zhou, L., Luo, Y., Wang, X., & Wang, Z. (2019). Lightweight and accurate memory allocation in key-value cache. International Journal of Parallel Programming, 47(3), 451-466.http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10766-018-0616-4

Digital Commons link: https://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/michigantech-p/144/

Springer link: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10766-018-0616-4


ADVANCE Team Receives NSF Grant Funding

Adrienne Minerick
Patty Sotirin
Sonia Goltz

The ADVANCE team at Michigan Tech has received a three-year $170,000 research and development grant from the National Science Foundation. This project is part of the one million dollar grant, “ADVANCE Partnership: Joining Forces – A Midwestern Partnership for STEM Faculty Success,” led by Iowa State University in partnership with North Dakota State University, Western Michigan University, and Michigan Tech.

The overall aim of the ADVANCE program is increased retention and career advancement opportunities for underrepresented women and women with family responsibilities working in the STEM departments of midwestern universities. Target audiences for the ADVANCE programs include academic leadership, tenured faculty, and under-represented minorities.

“This partnership is a bold move to realize cross-institutional collaborations supporting faculty career success and equity,” said Dr. Patty Sotirin, interim chair for the Department of Humanities and professor of communication at Michigan Tech. “The grant takes a regional approach to make sure our programs engage with intersectional issues and share resources and ideas that impact Midwest campuses.”

The goal of the newly awarded grant is to create an integrated ADVANCE package of programs that can be implemented across universities in the midwest. This package, called an Integrated Equity Support (IES) system, will expand, integrate and coordinate programs developed with prior ADVANCE NSF funding.

 The IES will include cross-institutional components including mentoring communities, male advocates and allies, and department chair professional development. The project will be implemented in phases: year one will expand three existing ADVANCE programs to include a focus on minorities and faculty with families; year two involves integrating these programs and introducing the package to a university that has not previously implemented them (as a test case); year three involves the expansion of an IES Caucus to facilitate community building and introduce the project to additional Midwestern institutions.

“A long-term goal for Michigan Tech is to institutionalize changes and programs that increase and sustain faculty equity,” noted Dr. Andrew Storer, dean of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science (SFRES). “This new NSF award will ensure an enduring return on investment for both the ADVANCE project and the University’s investment in faculty development and retention.” 

Adrienne Minerick, dean of the College of Computing, is principal investigator of the project at Michigan Tech, co-PIs are Sotirin and  Sonia Goltz, professor of organizational behavior in the School of Business and Economics., 

A participant in the NSF ADVANCE program since 2006, Michigan Tech and the ADVANCE team—led by Minerick, Goltz, Sotirin, Storer, and Audrey Mayer, professor of ecology and environmental policy in SFRES—have launched a number of programs aimed at increasing faculty retention, success, and inclusion. They include Advanced Career Management (ACM), Academy for Responsive Leadership, Advocates and Allies, Diversity Literacy Workshops, Early Career Management (ECM), and AMP UP. The ADVANCE initiative also has a Resource Center in Room 102B of the Van Pelt/Opie Library.

Learn more about ADVANCE at Michigan Tech at mtu.edu/ADVANCE. Contact ADVANCE at advance-mtu@mtu.edu.


Vertanen Teaches Workshop in Mumbai, India

Keith Vertanen (CS/HCC), associate professor of computer science, traveled to Mumbai, India, in July to co-facilitate a three-day workshop on best practices for writing conference papers. The workshop was presented by ACM SIGCHI and its Asian Development Committee, which works to increase its engagement with researchers and practitioners from Asia. The aim of the workshop was to encourage researchers from Asia to submit papers for the ACM CHI 2021 Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems.

Vertanen, who is co-chair of the Usability Subcommittee for CHI 2020, presented lectures on paper writing and experimental design to 20 PhD candidates from various universities in India, Sri Lanka, and South Korea. Vertanen also presented a talk on his text entry research and served on an advisory panel that offered feedback to the PhD students on their research in a forum similar to a doctoral consortium. Also co-facilitating the workshop were faculty members from University of Central Lancashire, UK, KAIST University, South Korea, and Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. Visit https://www.indiahci.org/sigchischool/paperCHI2021/ to learn more about the workshop.


Hembroff Attends KEEN Workshop

Guy Hembroff, associate professor and director of the Medical Informatics graduate program (CC/CyberS), attended the three-day workshop, “Teaching With Impact – Innovating Curriculum With Entrepreneurial Mindset,” in Milwaukee, Wisc., this July.

The workshop, presented by KEEN, a network of engineering faculty working to instill within student engineers an entrepreneurial mindset, introduced faculty participants to the framework of entrepreneurially minded learning (EML), which is centered on curiosity, connections, and creating value.  Hembroff and other participants identified opportunities for EML integration into existing coursework, developed a personal approach to integrating EML within the course design process, and learned how to implement continual improvement of their own EML practice.

Visit https://engineeringunleashed.com for more information about KEEN.