CS 7934 — Computer Systems Seminar, Fall 2013

Fridays, 2:00–3:30 PM, 3485 MEB

Organizer: Eric Eide


The fall 2013 offering of CS 7934 will cover a variety of systems topics, with an eye toward two goals.

The first is to increase participants' familiarity with recent and important results in the area of computer systems research. Attendees will read and discuss papers from recent and imminent top-tier systems conferences: e.g., SOSP, OSDI, NSDI, SIGCOMM, FAST, systems-related security conferences, and so on. Papers will be selected for their relevance to participants' research or upcoming Utah visitors. In contrast to recent offerings of the seminar, there is no preset “focus topic” for fall 2013. One can anticipate, however, that the semester will include discussions about cloud computing, datacenters, networking, security, and a heavy dose of papers from SOSP ’13.

The second is to be a venue for student presentations. Every student participating in the seminar will be required to lead at least one meeting during the semester. This may be a “formal” research presentation—ideally of a student's current work—or it may be an analysis of the research papers chosen for a seminar meeting.

CS 7934 is often called “the CSL seminar.” The name CSL is historic.

Mailing list

To get on the class mailing list, use Mailman to subscribe to csl-sem.


The course syllabus contains important information for students, including the course's policies on grading and cheating.


We strongly urge students to sign up for one credit if you're going to be attending anyway. Although the course is listed as “variable credit,” the course is only available for one (1) credit in all but the most exceptional circumstances. If you want to take the course for more than one credit, you must request and receive approval from the instructor.

Those taking the course for credit must read all of the papers, submit a short summary of each paper prior to class (PDF, Postscript, LaTeX), participate in each discussion, and make at least one research presentation.


Week Date Topic(s) Facilitator(s) Paper(s)
1 8/30 Eide no meeting — organizational email
2 9/6 network IDS signature generation Eide MetaSymploit: Day-One Defense against Script-based Attacks with Security-Enhanced Symbolic Analysis. Ruowen Wang et al. In USENIX Security ’13, Aug. 2013.

Towards Generating High Coverage Vulnerability-Based Signatures with Protocol-Level Constraint-Guided Exploration. Juan Caballero et al. In RAID ’09, Sep. 2009.
3 9/13 MapReduce-like computation Wang Spark: Cluster Computing with Working Sets. Matei Zaharia et al. In HotCloud ’10, Jun. 2010.

Postponed to Sep 27:
Shark: SQL and Rich Analytics at Scale. Reynold S. Xin et al. In SIGMOD ’13, Jun. 2013.
4 9/20 file system development Lin A Study of Linux File System Evolution. Lanyue Lu et al. In FAST ’13, Feb. 2013.
5 9/27 MapReduce-like computation Christensen Shark: SQL and Rich Analytics at Scale. Reynold S. Xin et al. In SIGMOD ’13, Jun. 2013.
6 10/4 packet processing with GPUs Sun Fast and Flexible: Parallel Packet Processing with GPUs and Click. Weibin Sun and Robert Ricci. In ANCS ’13, Oct. 2013. To appear.

Supplementary: The Click Modular Router. Eddie Kohler et al. ACM TOCS, 18(3), Aug. 2000.
7 10/11 seL4 Burtsev seL4: From General Purpose to a Proof of Information Flow Enforcement. Toby Murray et al. In IEEE Security and Privacy ’13, May 2013.

From L3 to seL4: What Have We Learnt in 20 Years of L4 Microkernels? Kevin Elphinstone and Gernot Heiser. In SOSP ’13, Nov. 2013. To appear.
8 10/18 no meeting — University fall break
9 10/25 software-defined storage Singh IOFlow: A Software-Defined Storage Architecture. Eno Thereska et al. In SOSP ’13, Nov. 2013. To appear.
10 11/1 fuzz-testing compilers Chen In 3147 MEB, PhD defense:
“Improving the Utility of Compiler Fuzzers.” Yang Chen.
11 11/8 custom architectures for big-data processing Pugsley Gordon: Using Flash Memory to Build Fast, Power-efficient Clusters for Data-intensive Applications. Adrian M. Caulfield et al. In ASPLOS ’09, Mar. 2009.

Thin Servers with Smart Pipes: Designing SoC Accelerators for Memcached. Kevin Lim et al. In ISCA ’13, Jun. 2013.
12 11/15 cloud storage Deshpande LogBase: A Scalable Log-structured Database System in the Cloud. Hoang Tam Vo et al. Proc. VLDB, 5(10), Jun. 2012.
13 11/22 OS structure Joseph FlexSC: Flexible System Call Scheduling with Exception-Less System Calls. Livio Soares and Michael Stumm. In OSDI ’10, Oct. 2010.
14 11/29 no meeting — Thanksgiving break
15 12/6 dataflow and streaming computation Quinn Naiad: A Timely Dataflow System. Derek G. Murray et al. In SOSP ’13, Nov. 2013.
16 12/13 systems software bugs Shepherd Towards Optimization-Safe Systems: Analyzing the Impact of Undefined Behavior. Xi Wang et al. In SOSP ’13, Nov. 2013.

Supplementary: A Guide to Undefined Behavior in C and C++, Part 1. John Regehr. Blog post, Jul. 2010.

Potential Papers

Upcoming and recent conference proceedings are good sources of papers for discussion. Below are links to some relevant conference series.

Past CSL Seminars

Semester Focus Topic(s)
Spring 2013 reversible and “time-traveling” debugging
Fall 2012 modern networking and network management; peer-review process
Spring 2012 systems approaches to dynamic problem detection and repair
Fall 2011 datacenter architectures and issues
Spring 2011 malicious software, i.e., malware
Fall 2010 systems approaches to security
Spring 2010 testbed-like infrastructures for cloud computing and scientific computing
Fall 2009 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’09 papers
Fall 2008 no focus topic chosen; many OSDI ’08 papers
Summer 2008 no focus topic chosen; informal biweekly meetings
Spring 2008 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2007 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’07 papers
Fall 2006 no focus topic chosen; many OSDI ’06 papers
Fall 2005 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’05 papers
Spring 2005 no focus topic chosen; many NSDI ’05 papers

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