Thoughts on Systems

Emil Sit

Usenix 2006

Though I wasn’t really paying attention, it looks like the annual Usenix Technical Conference is well underway just down the street. If you happen to be in town and want to meet up, send me an e-mail.

Virtualization and large distributed systems continue to be hot topics. Larry Peterson gave the keynote about PlanetLab, the ever popular, sometimes frustrating, Internet-wide test bed. He was followed up by a session on virtualization and performance. Andy Oram has some coverage with some observations about the first day. Unlike NSDI, Usenix is a multi-track event and so he couldn’t get to see all the talks and events; his post touches on Larry’s talk, the following open-source panel and a few technical highlights from the afternoon.

Today (Friday) there was an interesting-looking panel on whether university teaching is relevant to industry: this is a point I discussed in response the interview Werner Vogels had at ACMQueue. At least one blogger didn’t think much of the panel discussion though; he raises a good point about fundamentals. There’s also an invited talk about work being done at DE Shaw—I have detailed notes from a talk Dr. Shaw himself gave at MIT, that I could write up and post if there’s interest (leave a comment!). I’m also very curious about the Pixar talk from the closing plenary session; please post any links you might have to posts about that.

Saturday, there will be a talk about liblog, which I unfortunately won’t be able to attend. However, the paper looks interesting and similar in spirit to DTrace and Pip. I can’t use Pip or DTrace immediately—Pip requires explicit annotation and DTrace requires Solaris (or maybe FreeBSD-CURRENT). However, liblog is based on LD_PRELOAD tricks and might be quite useful; the download page has some binary-only packages that maybe I will take a look at.

There are a few other talks and papers that look interesting—mostly those related to my current and past research. Trevor Blackwell and Paul Graham are also giving talks, which I imagine will receive more blog coverage than the rest.