Jane Street
Tech Talks

January 24, 2019

Abstractions for Expressive, Efficient Parallel and Distributed Computing

Lindsey Kuper
University of California, Santa Cruz

Parallel and distributed systems are notoriously difficult to build correctly or efficiently. In parallel systems, the manipulation of shared state can cause unintended behavior in the presence of unpredictable task scheduling, while in distributed systems, the manipulation of replicated state can cause unintended behavior in the presence of an unreliable network. Meanwhile, decades of research have not yet produced a general solution to the problem of automatic program parallelization.

In this talk, I’ll discuss how my research addresses these challenges from both theoretical and applied points of view. My work on lattice-based data structures, or LVars, proposes new foundations for expressive deterministic-by-construction parallel and distributed programming models. My work on non-invasive domain-specific languages for parallelism gives programmers language-based tools for safe, deterministic parallelization. The guiding principle and goal of both of these lines of work is to find the right high-level abstractions to express computation in a way that not only does not compromise efficiency, but actually enables it. I’ll conclude by discussing the role that this principle of finding the right efficiency-enabling abstractions can play in my ongoing investigation into SMT-based verification of neural networks.

Lindsey Kuper

Lindsey Kuper (https://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~lkuper/) is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she works on language-based approaches to building software systems that are correct and efficient. She holds a Ph.D. in computer science from Indiana University and a BA in computer science and music from Grinnell College. Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, she was a Research Scientist in the Parallel Computing Lab at Intel Labs. During her Ph.D. years, she contributed to the Rust programming language at Mozilla Research, served several residencies at the Recurse Center, and co-founded !!Con (http://bangbangcon.com), the annual conference of ten-minute talks about the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing.