Computing in the Specialization Era

Event Start
Event End
Building 9, Level 2, Room 2325, Hall 2


Several trends in the IT industry are driving an increasing specialization of the hardware layers. On the one hand, demanding workloads, large data volumes, diversity in data types, etc. are all factors contributing to make general purpose computing too inefficient. On the other hand, cloud computing and its economies of scale allow vendors to invest on specialized hardware for particular tasks that otherwise would be too expensive or consume resources needed elsewhere. In this talk I will discuss the shift towards hardware acceleration and show with several examples from industry and from research the large role that FPGAs are playing. I will hypothesize that we are in a new era where most of the established assumptions, rules of thumb, and accumulated wisdom about many aspects of computation in general and of data processing in particular no longer hold and need to be revisited.

Brief Biography

Gustavo Alonso is a professor in the Department of Computer Science of ETH Zurich where he is a member of the Systems Group. He graduated in Telecommunications Engineering from the Technical University of Madrid, Spain and did his MSc and PhD at the University of California at Santa Barbara. After graduation, he was a research scientist at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California before joining ETH. His research interests include data management, distributed systems, cloud computing architecture, and hardware acceleration through reconfigurable computing. Gustavo has served as PC chair for conferences in several areas including VLDB, ICDE, EDBT, EuroSys, Middleware, and ICDCS and regularly serves in the Program Committee of CIDR, VLDB, SIGMOD, FPGA, ATC, EuroSys, OSDI, and MLSys. He was a member of the VLDB Endowment and the EDBT Executive Board and the Chair of EuroSys, the European Chapter of ACM SIGOPS. Gustavo has received 4 Test-of-Time Awards for his research in databases, software runtimes, middleware, and mobile computing. He is an ACM Fellow, an IEEE Fellow, and a Distinguished Alumnus of the Department of Computer Science of UC Santa Barbara.