Keynote Talks

BOOM: Experiences in Language and Tool Design for Distributed Systems

Date and Time: Nov. 13, 2013, 8:30 AM - 10:10 AM
Location: Mediterranean II, III

Speaker: Joseph M. Hellerstein
University of California, Berkeley, USA

With the rapid expansion of cloud infrastructure and mobile devices, distributed systems have quickly emerged as a dominant computing platform. Distributed systems bring significant complexity to programming, due to platform issues including asynchrony, concurrency, and partial failure. Meanwhile, scalable distributed infrastructure---notably "NoSQL" systems---have put additional burdens on programmers by sacrificing traditional infrastructure contracts like linearizable or transactional I/O in favor of high availability. A growing segment of the developer community needs to deal with these issues today, and for the most part developers are still using languages and tools designed for sequential computation on tightly coupled architectures. This has led to software that is increasingly hard to test and hard to trust.

Over the past 5 years, the BOOM project at Berkeley has focused on making it easier to write correct and maintainable code for distributed systems. Our work has taken a number of forms, including the development of the Bloom programming language for distributed systems, tools for testing and checking distributed programs, and the CALM Theorem, which connects programmer level concerns of determinism to system-level concerns about the need for distributed coordination. This talk will reflect on this work, and highlight opportunities for improved collaboration between the software engineering and distributed systems research communities.

About the Speaker
Joseph M. Hellerstein is a Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work focuses on data-centric systems and the way they drive computing. He is an ACM Fellow, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and the recipient of three ACM-SIGMOD "Test of Time" awards for his research. In 2010, Fortune Magazine included him in their list of 50 smartest people in technology, and MIT's Technology Review magazine included his Bloom language for cloud computing on their TR10 list of the 10 technologies "most likely to change our world".

Hellerstein is the co-founder and CEO of Trifacta. He serves on the technical advisory boards of a number of computing and Internet companies including EMC, SurveyMonkey, Platfora, Captricity, and Graphlab, and previously served as the Director of Intel Research, Berkeley.

The Challenges of Verification and Validation of Automated Planning Systems

Date and Time: Nov. 15, 2013, 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Mediterranean II, III

Speaker: Jeremy Frank
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, USA

Mission planning is central to space mission operations, and has benefited from advances in model-based planning software. A model is a description of the objects, actions, constraints and preferences that the planner reasons over to generate plans. Developing, verifying and validating a planning model is, however, a difficult task. Mission planning constraints and preferences arise from many sources, including simulators and engineering specification documents. As mission constraints evolve, planning domain modelers must add and update model constraints efficiently using the available source data, catching errors quickly, and correcting the model. The consequences of erroneous models are very high, especially in the space operations environment.

We first describe the space operations environment, particularly the role of the mission planning system. We then describe model-based planning, and briefly review the current state of the practice in designing model-based mission planning tools and the challenges facing model developers. We then describe an Interactive Model Development Environment (IMDE) approach to developing mission planning systems. This approach integrates modeling and simulation environments to reduce model editing time, generate simulations automatically to evaluate plans, and identify modeling errors automatically by evaluating simulation output. The IMDE approach was tested on a small subset of the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) flight software to demonstrate how to develop the LADEE mission planning system.

About the Speaker
Dr. Jeremy Frank is an employee of NASA at NASA Ames Research Center. He works in the Autonomous Systems and Robotics Area of the Intelligent Systems Division. He is Group Lead of the Planning and Scheduling Group, an organization of 30 researchers and staff that designs and builds space mission operations tools. Dr. Frank has an MS and a PhD in Computer Science from the University of California (Davis). He also has a BA in Mathematics from Pomona College.

Dr. Frank’s research interests include combinatorial optimization, operations research, artificial intelligence, applied to the automation of space mission operations. Dr. Frank has successfully led and participated in several research and development projects during his 12 years at NASA. Dr. Frank is the Principal Investigator of the Autonomous Mission Operations (AMO) Project, a NASA Advanced Exploration Systems Program project that develops advanced technology prototypes for mission operations in the presence of large time delays. He has received over twenty five NASA awards, including a Silver Snoopy (the Astronaut’s Personal Award) and the Exceptional Achievement Medal.