Renato Mancuso

Can We Control Time? Foundations of Software-Shaped Platforms for Precise Performance Control
Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Boston University, USA
8, Sep, 2023 15:30-17:30 (2 hours)
CISTER, Porto, Portugal


We entrust our lives to computing systems. Whenever we hop on a flight, suddenly brake in a car to avoid a collision, or fight a disease in an intensive care unit, our lives depend on a computing system doing the right thing (logical correctness) at the right time (timeliness). Timeliness is certainly key for safety-critical real-time systems to meaningfully interact with the physical world. But as modern lifestyles become symbiotic with computer systems, wealso expect timeliness from the graphical interfaces in our mobile devices, data streaming services, and edge cloud systems. Unfortunately, timeliness is a property that cannot be explicitly programmed, as it emerges from the interplay of software and hardware components. Without explicit control over one such interplay, timeliness remains an elusive dimension. This begs the question: can we move away from application-agnostic systems? Can we, instead, leverage fine-grained knowledge of said interplay to regain control over our applications’ timeliness?
In this talk, I will outline the vision for "software-shaped platforms," or SOSH platforms for short. At the core of the SOSH paradigm is the idea of exposing direct control over the flow of data exchanged between hardware components in embedded System-on-Chips (SoC). Data flow manipulation primitives are constructed in reprogrammable hardware and interposed between central processors, memory modules, and I/O devices. A new layer of system software is then introduced to leverage such primitives and to achieve fine-grained control and introspection over the interaction of SoC resources. Turning memory and I/O data flows into manageable entities unlocks a new degree of internal awareness in complex systems. We first review our recent works that explore foundational mechanisms to implement data flow manipulation primitives to be employed in SOSH platforms. Next, we outline future research avenues concerning the use of the SOSH paradigm for workload profiling and prediction, to implement advanced memory models, and to perform security threat identification and mitigation.


Renato is an assistant professor in the department of Computer Science at Boston University (BU) and the director of the BU Cyber-Physical Systems Lab (CPSLab@BU). He is also affiliated with the BU Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in 2017. His research focuses on real-time and embedded systems. He is especially interested in partially-reconfigurable platforms and OS-level multi-core resource management technologies for high-performance, safety-critical systems. He is also interested in applications and methodologies to design, deploy and analyze Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and in real-time cloud computing. His research also touches on aspects of security for embedded systems and technologies for UAVs.

Event photos can be found HERE.

S101 Auditorium/Seminar Room
1st Floor