Rob Stewart (Heriot-Watt University): Reliable Parallel Computing using Model Checking

Event details

  • When: 19th November 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk will demonstrate how model checking based verification of compilers and runtime systems can increase the confidence of parallel execution of programming languages, using two case studies.

As HPC systems continue to increase in scale, their mean time between failure decreases meaning reliability has become a major concern. I will present HdpH-RS, a parallel HPC language. HdpH-RS has a formal semantics, and a fault tolerant work stealing scheduler that has been verified with the SPIN model checker. At embedded scale, program transformations on stateful dynamic code can introduce bugs, race conditions and deadlock. I will present a parallel refactoring tool for the CAL dataflow language. It is integrated with the TINA model checker that we use to identify parallelisable cyclo-static actors in dynamic dataflow programs.

The broader aim of this work is to integrate automated formal verification into parallelising compilers and parallel runtime systems for heterogeneous architectures.

Speaker bio: Dr Rob Stewart is an Assistant Professor at Heriot-Watt University. He’s interested in formalising, verifying and implementing dataflow, functional and domain specific programming languages for manycore architectures and programmable hardware.

Bran Knowles (Lancaster University): Understanding older adults’ distrust of digital technology

Event details

  • When: 12th November 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract: It is well known that older adults continue to lag behind younger adults in terms of their breadth of uptake of digital technologies, amount and quality of engagement in these tools and ability to critically engage with the online world. Can these differences be explained by older adults’ distrust of digital technologies? Is trust, therefore, a critical design consideration for appealing to older adults? In this talk I will argue that while distrust is not, in fact, determinative of non-use and therefore does not explain these differences in tech usage, it is nonetheless key for designers to understand older adult distrust in developing socially responsible technologies.

Speaker Bio: Bran is a lecturer in the Data Science Institute at Lancaster University. Her research explores the social impacts of computing, with a particular interest in trust, privacy, and ethics. Her recent work has explored these issues at both ends of the age spectrum, with projects such as IoT4Kids, looking at the privacy, security and ethical issues of enabling children to programme IoT devices; and Mobile Age, looking at developing mobile apps for older adults. Bran currently serves as a member of the ACM Europe Technology Policy Committee.

Jan De Muijnck-Hughes (University of Glasgow): LightClick: A Linear Typed Orchestration Language for System-On-A-Chip Designs

Event details

  • When: 5th November 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

Two important aspects in hardware design are the safe routing of signals between modules, and ensuring that ports are correctly connected. Well-known hardware description languages such as SystemVerilog, provide nominal checking over these aspects. Thus, leaving correctness checks over module orchestration to be performed post-design-time using static analyses, testing, and during synthesis.

Using a mixture of dependent and quantitative typing, we can lift external correctness checks over module connections directly into the type-system. With this approach we can detect more errors at design time, enhance the safety of our hardware designs, and thus increase design productivity.

In this talk I will introduce and discuss LightClick, an orchestration language for hardware design that exemplifies our approach. LightClick uses quantitative typing to ensure linear usage of ports, and dependent types to ensure that port compatibility is a decidable compile-time check. I will show how LightClick can be used to model simple hardware designs, how SystemVerilog stubs are generated from designs using staged interpretation.

Speaker Bio: Jan is a Research Associate at the University of Glasgow, who is interested in using state-of-the-art advances in programming language theory to build more trustworthy systems. Jan is currently involved in the Border Patrol project – a collaboration between the Universities of Heriot-Watt, Glasgow, and Imperial College London to explore how Dependent Typing and Session Typing can help make hardware design safer and secure.

Max L. Wilson (University of Nottingham): Brain-based HCI – What could brain data can tell us HCI

Event details

  • When: 25th October 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Please note non-standard date and time for this talk

Abstract:

This talk will describe a range of our projects, utilising functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in HCI. As a portable alternative that’s more tolerate of motion artefacts than EEG, fNIRS measures the amount of oxygen in the brain, as e.g. mental workload creates demand. As opposed to BCI (trying to control systems with our brain), we focus on brain-based HCI, asking what brain data can tell us about our software, our work, our habits, and ourselves. In particular, we are driven by the idea that brain data can become personal data in the future.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Max L. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Mixed Reality Lab in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham.  His research focus is on evaluating Mental Workload in HCI contexts – as real-world as possible – primarily using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS).  As a highly tolerant form of brain sensor, fNIRS is suitable for use in HCI research into user interface design, work tasks, and everyday experiences.  This work emerged from his prior research into the design and evaluation of complex user interfaces for information interfaces. Across these two research areas, Max has over 120 publications, including a Honourable Mention CHI2019 paper on a Brain-Controlled Movie – The MOMENT.

Daniel S. Katz (University of Illinois): Parsl: Pervasive Parallel Programming in Python

Event details

  • When: 18th October 2019 13:00 - 14:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Please note non-standard date and time for this talk

Abstract: High-level programming languages such as Python are increasingly used to provide intuitive interfaces to libraries written in lower-level languages and for assembling applications from various components. This migration towards orchestration rather than implementation, coupled with the growing need for parallel computing (e.g., due to big data and the end of Moore’s law), necessitates rethinking how parallelism is expressed in programs.

Here, we present Parsl, a parallel scripting library that augments Python with simple, scalable, and flexible constructs for encoding parallelism. These constructs allow Parsl to construct a dynamic dependency graph of components from a Python program enhanced with a small number of decorators that define the components to be executed asynchronously and in parallel, and then execute it efficiently on one or many processors. Parsl is designed for scalability, with an extensible set of executors tailored to different use cases, such as low-latency, high-throughput, or extreme-scale execution. We show, via experiments on the Blue Waters supercomputer, that Parsl executors can allow Python scripts to execute components with as little as 5 ms of overhead, scale to more than 250000 workers across more than 8000 nodes, and process upward of 1200 tasks per second.

Other Parsl features simplify the construction and execution of composite programs by supporting elastic provisioning and scaling of infrastructure, fault-tolerant execution, and integrated wide-area data management. We show that these capabilities satisfy the needs of many-task, interactive, online, and machine learning applications in fields such as biology, cosmology, and materials science.

Slides: see here.

Speaker Bio: Daniel S. Katz is Assistant Director for Scientific Software and Applications at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and Research Associate Professor in Computer Science; Electrical & Computer Engineering; and the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. For further details, please see his website here.

Ankush Jhalani (Bloomberg): Building Near Real-Time News Search

Event details

  • When: 15th October 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Abstract:

This talk provides an insight into the challenges involved in providing near real-time news search to Bloomberg customers. It starts with a picture of what’s involved in building such a backend, then delves into what makes up a search engine. Finally we discuss the challenges of scaling up for low-latency and high-load, and how we tackle them.

Speaker Bio:

Ankush leads the News Search infrastructure team at the Bloomberg Engineering office in London. After completing his Masters in Computer Science, he joined Bloomberg at their New York office in 2009. Later working from Washington DC, he led a team to build a web application leveraging Lucene/Elasticsearch for businesses to discover government contracting opportunities. In London, his team focuses on search infrastructure and services allowing clients to search news events from all over the globe with near real-time access and sub-second latencies.

 

Code4REF: Recording software outputs in Pure

Do you develop research software?  If so, you may be interested in the Code4REF project, which explains how to record it in Pure – the research information system used in St Andrews. Research software is a primary research output, and it should get the same visibility as research publications on the University research portal. You can find all current software entries in the Research Portal here, but the picture is certainly incomplete – we know many more researchers who write code. We call everyone to join efforts and help us to collect further evidence that software is vital for research!

If you have any comments about the Code4REF project, please create an issue in its GitHub repository.

Summer school “Advanced techniques in computer algebra systems development”

Event details

  • When: 29th August 2011 - 1st September 2011
  • Where: Maths Theatre A
  • Format: Summer School

The summer school “Advanced techniques in computer algebra systems development” is organised by the Centre of Interdisciplinary Research in Computational Algebra and supported by the Scottish Informatics and Computer Science Alliance (SICSA) and the EU FP6 project “SCIEnce – Symbolic Computation Infrastructure for EuropeFurther details>>>