EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Citadel of One: Individuality and the rise of the machines
Abstract / Description: 

Biologically speaking, individuals emerge when the interests of potentially distinct entities are tied together, such that they evolve as a collective. From this perspective, we can make sense of the biological diversity of individuals, and it becomes clear that individuality is not a binary trait, but a continuum encompassing entities as diverse as human cell lineages, ant colonies and fields of dandelions. Individual-like entities can emerge and compete at multiple scales simultaneously, from cells to super-organisms. Theorists have argued that selection at the level of coalitions has likely played a powerful role in shaping human evolution, and the cognitive architecture that drives us to competitively support our in-groups remains powerful today. Collective entities such as governments, corporations and other human institutions may co-opt this architecture to emerge as partial, non-sentient individuals evolving in parallel with humans. Such collectives tend to accrue power faster than individuals within modern societies, and technological advances are accelerating this trend. Should we expect more mercy from our collectives than our bodies offer to our cells?

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 7, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
Abstract / Description: 

Systematic efforts to preserve digital information for the long term have been under way, including at Stanford's LOCKSS Program, for about two decades. What have we learned about the problem in that time?



The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, September 30, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Backwards toward the Future
Abstract / Description: 

A good friend on mine, Dr. Richard W. Hamming (a Turing Award winner), once said to me that, "while Isaac Newton observed 'If I have seen further than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants', in parts of computer science we often stand on each others toes'".

I would like to focus this talk on trying to answer the question of why after all these years our computer systems/networks are insecure, breakable and ill-suited to many of the critical tasks we have given them.

I will review the evolution of our current networked systems and suggest why they have turned out so commercially successful but yet so much of a problem in aspects such as security and privacy.

The field has produced a number of very robust securable fault tolerant systems. Why hasn't the field learned from them and built based on their successes (and failures).

I believe that it is time to undertake a real grand challenge for our field – that is to design and deploy in critical areas a complete robust environment capable of providing a base for the future. I will try to demonstrate why I believe it is a timely goal that can be achieved.

 


 

The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, December 2, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Locking the Web Open – A Call for a New, Distributed Web
Abstract / Description: 

Twenty years after the World Wide Web was created, can we now make it better? How can we ensure that our most important values: privacy, free speech, and open access to knowledge are enshrined in the code itself? In a provocative call to action, entrepreneur and Open Internet advocate, Brewster Kahle, challenges us to build a better, decentralized Web based on new distributed technologies. He lays out a path to creating a new Web that is reliable, private, but still fun–in order to lock the Web open for good.


 

The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 11, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
The TLS 1.3 Protocol
Abstract / Description: 

Transport Layer Security (TLS) is used for securing everything from Web transactions (HTTPS) to voice and video calls (DTLS-SRTP). However, the basic design of TLS dates back to the mid 1990s and the protocol is starting to show its age: TLS contains a number of features which no longer seem desirable and recent analytic work has discovered a number of protocol vulnerabilities (Triple Handshake, Logjam, etc.). In addition, as cryptographic algorithms have gotten faster, handshake latency has become a higher priority and TLS's current handshake does not reflect the state of the art.

In order to address these issues, the IETF TLS Working Group is currently developing a major revision of TLS, dubbed "TLS 1.3". TLS 1.3 has five major objectives:

  1. Clean up: Remove unused or unsafe features
  2. Security: Improve security by using modern security analysis techniques
  3. Privacy: Encrypt more of the protocol
  4. Performance: Our target is a 1-RTT handshake for naive clients; 0-RTT handshake for repeat connections
  5. Continuity: Maintain existing important use cases

In this talk, we will cover the TLS 1.3 protocol itself, its design process, and current status.


 

The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
The Search Engine Manipulation Effect
Abstract / Description: 

An extensive study published in August 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA shows that biased search rankings have a dramatic impact on the voting preferences of undecided voters. Five randomized, controlled experiments conducted with more than 4,500 participants in two countries showed that rankings that favored one candidate could easily increase the proportion of people who supported that candidate by 20 percent or more--up to 80 percent in some demographic groups--with virtually no one aware they were being manipulated. Because in most countries online search is conducted on a single search engine, this means that if, for any reason, search results on that search engine favored one candidate, a large number of votes would likely be driven to that candidate with no possible way of counteracting the effect. Because search algorithms currently do not incorporate "equal-time" rules to assure objectivity in presenting election-related material, and because many elections around the world are won by small margins, it is possible that a single search engine has recently been determining the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of the world's national elections, with increasing impact each year as internet penetration has been increasing.

The impact of search rankings on peoplei's thinking is called the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME). SEME is one of the largest behavioral effects ever discovered, and it is almost entirely undetectable as a means of social influence, which makes it especially dangerous. Its impact extends far beyond voting, affecting decisions large and small that people make every day. SEME's power derives from a basic operant conditioning phenomenon: In routine searches every day, people are being trained, like rats in a Skinner box, to believe that what is higher in a list of search results is better and truer. The stronger that belief becomes, the more easily search rankings can be used to alter the beliefs, attitudes, opinions, and behavior of people who are undecided on almost any issue. In both scope and power, this makes SEME unlike any other list effect that has ever been discovered.

Ongoing research on SEME is assessing how the operant conditioning process contributes to SEME's power, how SEME is affecting decisions people make about their health, how SEME may be affecting court decisions, and how it might be possible to suppress SEME through regulations, browser add-ons, or other means.


 

The Stanford EE Computer Systems Colloquium (EE380) meets on Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 throughout the academic year. Talks are given before a live audience in Room B03 in the basement of the Gates Computer Science Building on the Stanford Campus. The live talks (and the videos hosted at Stanford and on YouTube) are open to the public.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, October 28, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:45pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Rethinking Memory System Design for Data-Intensive Computing
Abstract / Description: 

The memory system is a fundamental performance and energy bottleneck in almost all computing systems. Recent system design, application, and technology trends that require more capacity, bandwidth, efficiency, and predictability out of the memory system make it an even more important system bottleneck. At the same time, DRAM and flash technologies are experiencing difficult technology scaling challenges that make the maintenance and enhancement of their capacity, energy-efficiency, and reliability significantly more costly with conventional techniques.

In this talk, we examine some promising research and design directions to overcome challenges posed by memory scaling. Specifically, we discuss three key solution directions: 1) enabling new memory architectures, functions, interfaces, and better integration of the memory and the rest of the system, 2) designing a memory system that intelligently employs multiple memory technologies and coordinates memory and storage management using non-volatile memory technologies, 3) providing predictable performance and QoS to applications sharing the memory/storage system. If time permits, we might also briefly touch upon our ongoing related work in combating scaling challenges of NAND flash memory.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Gates B03

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
The Future of Trustworthy Computer Systems: A Holistic View from the Perspectives of Hardware, Software, and Programming Languages
Abstract / Description: 

The state of the art of trustworthiness is inherently weak with respect to computer systems and networks. Essentially every component today is a potential weak link, including hardware, operating systems, and apps (for desktops, laptops, network switches and controllers, servers, clouds, and even mobile devices), and above all, people (insiders, penetrators, malware creators, and so on). The potentially untrustworthy nature of our supply chains adds further uncertainty. Indeed, the ubiquity of computer-based devices in the so-called Internet of Things is likely to make this situation even more volatile than it already is.

This talk will briefly consider system vulnerabilities and risks, and some of the limitations of software engineering and programming languages. It will also take a holistic view of total-system architectures and their implementations, which suggests that some radical systemic improvements are needed, as well as changes in how we develop hardware and software.

To this end, we will discuss some lessons from joint work between SRI and the University of Cambridge for DARPA, which is now nearing several possible transition opportunities relating to some relatively clean-slate approaches. In particular, we are pursuing formally based hardware design that enables efficient fine-grained compartmentalization and access controls, new software and compiler extensions that can take significant advantage of the hardware features. SRI's formal methods tools (theorem prover PVS, model checker SAL, and SMT solver Yices) have been embedded into the hardware design process, and are also applicable selectively to the software. This work for DARPA is entirely open-sourced. The potential implications for hardware and software developers are quite considerable. SRI and U.Cambridge are also applying the knowledge gained from our trustworthy systems to software-defined networking, servers, and clouds, along with some network switch/controller approaches that can also benefit from the new hardware.. For example, Phil Porras has described some of the SDN work of his team in last week's talk at this colloquium.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Gates B01

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Security and the Software Defined Network
Abstract / Description: 

Modern networks are undergoing an exciting transition toward a paradigm of greater programmability and dynamic flow management. For the network security community, this transformation is opening attractive opportunities for more innovative forms of threat mitigation. It is also raising interesting challenges in how to reconcile our legacy notions of well-defined security policy enforcement. I will discuss some of the ongoing work toward securing software defined networks (SDNs), as well as some interesting new SDN-enabled security and management applications.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Gates B01

EE380 Computer Systems Colloquium

Topic: 
Inventing the Inventor: Transforming a Generation of Minecraft Players Into Engineers
Abstract / Description: 

Technology influences every part of our lives, and children grow up digital natives. But this proximity does not guarantee an understanding or grasp of the underlying workings of the machines we use. We saw that kids today are great consumers, but not great creators of technology. We wanted to change that. And make it fun.

If you love the idea of empowering kids and teaching them to tap their inner inventor, join us, share your ideas, support our work, and help make it happen.

Date and Time: 
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 - 4:15pm to 5:30pm
Venue: 
Gates B01

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