Colloquium Archive

Interactive Entertaining And Social Responsibility

Jason Shankel, Stupid Fun Club


From video games to the Internet to mobile devices, the entertainment aspect of modern technology has become a very powerful force in society. And with great power, so the saying goes, comes great responsibility. This talk will address issues of social responsibility in electronic entertainment.

All Your Bytes Are Belong To Us: The Changing Face Of Internet Surveillance In Syria

Eva Galperin, Electronic Frontier Foundation


Over the course of the Syrian uprising, the Assad regime has used a variety of strategies to spy on activists, dissidents, and members of the opposition in Syria. This talk will trace the evolution of Syrian surveillance from Deep Packet Inspection using US made Blue Coat devices to campaigns of phishing and covertly installed malware, describe the current state of Internet surveillance in Syria, and speculate about possible future developments.

The Next Software Generation

David Greenspan, Meteor


We are on the verge of a new explosion of software. We have all the technology we need to make software fast, reliable, beautiful, and exquisitely suited to the task at hand, yet every day we use clunky and idiosyncratic interfaces that were developed at great expense. This is an unstable state of affairs maintained by cultural, economic, and institutional forces. I explain three big realizations happening in the software ecosystem that will change everything, one that is already well underway and two that are coming. First, software is best produced with a small creative team of engineers rather than a large, traditionally managed hierarchy, though this is only possible with careful attention to process. Second, the much-lamented gap between academia and practice in programming languages, databases, and other building-block technologies is not so mysterious but exists for mundane reasons; "better" technologies can win the popularity contest and spread far and wide, but it requires specific effort, resources, and an understanding of why programmers choose the tools they do. Third, it is now so cheap to develop and distribute software (and even hardware) that economic forces will reshape software companies and careers. These shifts will empower and incentivize individual developers to make the software they want to see in the world.

What College Forgot: Job Hunting For C.S. Students

Benjamin Morrison, mFoundry (PIZZA AFTER TALK IN DARWIN 28)


You’ve graduated, now what do you do? Graduating with your degree is just the first step on the road to the working world. Luckily this talk will provide you with knowledge and tools on how to look for a job and what to expect from an interview. I’ll share my experiences being an interviewee and what I look for when I’m interviewing potential candidates. The goal will not be to tell you how to dazzle and wow potential employers but how to prepare yourself and allow the skills and knowledge you have do the dazzling for you.

Providing Fast And Safe Access To Next-Generation, Non-Volatile Memories

Joel Coburn, Google


Emerging non-volatile memory technologies such as phase change memory, spin-torque transfer memory, and the memristor, will provide many orders of magnitude decrease in latency compared to disk and flash memory, dramatic increases in bandwidth, and a byte-addressable interface similar to DRAM. These new memories offer the possibility of enormous performance gains, but fully realizing them will require us to rid software of disk-centric optimizations, design decisions, and architectures that limit performance and ignore bottlenecks that the poor performance of disks have hidden in the past. The algorithms and architectures that storage and database systems use to enforce strong consistency guarantees are especially important to system performance, and current solutions are deeply tied to conventional disk technology. This work addresses the problem of providing transactional support for fast, non-volatile memories that can make programming easy and exploit the raw performance of these new technologies. First, we present a prototype PCIe-based storage array that targets fast, non-volatile memories and provides hardware support for multi-part atomic write operations. Unlike previous approaches for flash-based SSDs, our atomic write support makes logging scalable and transparent to the user, providing a strong foundation for implementing full transactions. Using multi-part atomic writes we show how existing transactions mechanisms such as ARIES can be redesigned to make optimal use of these memories. Second, we consider how to provide safety for storage that is directly accessible via the processor's memory bus. We present NV-heaps, a persistent object store which provides a familiar programming interface and protects against application and system failures by avoiding familiar programmer errors as well as new errors that only arise with persistent objects.