SCS Recruiting Seminar: Ming Liu

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TITLE: Building Distributed Systems Using Programmable Networks


The continuing increase of data center network bandwidth, coupled with a slower improvement in CPU performance, has challenged our conventional wisdom regarding data center networks: how to build distributed systems that can keep up with the network speeds and are high-performant and energy-efficient? The recent emergence of a programmable network fabric (PNF) suggests a potential solution. By offloading suitable computations to a PNF device (i.e., SmartNIC, reconfigurable switch, or network accelerator), one can reduce request serving latency, save end-host CPU cores, and enable efficient traffic control.

In this talk, I will present two frameworks for building PNF-enabled distributed systems: (1) IncBricks, an in-network caching fabric built with network accelerators and programmable switches; (2) iPipe, an actor-based framework for offloading distributed applications
 on SmartNICs. I will show how to make efficient use of in-network heterogeneous computing resources by applying approximation techniques, co-designing with end-host software layers, employing new programming abstractions, and designing efficient control-/data-planes. Finally, I will discuss how to use PNF to re-architect other data center systems.


Ming Liu is a Ph.D. candidate in the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, advised by Arvind Krishnamurthy, Luis Ceze, and Simon Peter. His research interests are in computer systems and networks, with a focus on optimizing distributed systems by exploring the computing capabilities across the programmable network fabric (including SmartNICs, reconfigurable switches, and network accelerators).



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