2023 International Symposium on Computer Architecture Showcases CS Impact

7/26/2023 Bruce Adams

The International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) conference celebrated its 50th anniversary in Orlando, Florida, at a June 21 session. As part of the proceedings, the highest-impact papers of the last 25 years of the conference were selected. Sarita V. Adve Richard T. Cheng, Professor, and Director, IMMERSE, Center for Immersive Computing, had two papers chosen for the retrospective.

Written by Bruce Adams

Sarita Adve
Sarita Adve

The International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) conference celebrated its 50th anniversary in Orlando, Florida, in June. As part of the celebration, a retrospective of selected papers from the last 25 years of the conference was published. Sarita V. Adve Richard T. Cheng, Professor, and Director, IMMERSE, Center for Immersive Computing, had two papers chosen for the retrospective. 

Adve noted that “combined with one previously chosen for the ISCA-25 retrospective, these papers represent the three major bodies of work for which I am recognized and, more satisfyingly, were the first papers I wrote in each of these areas.” The paper chosen for the ISCA-25 retrospective was “Weak Ordering - A New Definition” from ISCA 1990, co-authored with Mark Hill.

 “The Case for Lifetime Reliability-aware Microprocessors” from ISCA 2004, co-authored with Jayanth Srinivasan, Pradip Bose, and Jude Rivers, was chosen for ISCA-50. Adve recalled that:

“This was the first paper to expose the architecture community to lifetime reliability concerns as we approached the end of Dennard scaling, and power became an increasing concern. It was a turning point in my career as I realized that various reliability-related concerns could jeopardize the benefits the tech industry had been reaping from Moore’s law and Dennard scaling. It led to a large body of work with several Ph.D. students who made numerous contributions to reliability models, metrics, open-source tools, and mitigation techniques for various reliability concerns. Equally important, the 2004 paper was also the start of a fruitful long-term industry collaboration with Pradip Bose’s group at IBM from which I learned a lot about how to do research that is both relevant and long-term. Today hardware reliability has become a major issue, with companies like Google, Meta, etc., raising the alarm about silent data corruptions resulting from hard-to-detect and diagnose reliability issues. All our work in the last almost two decades has become completely relevant to the industry problems of the day. That is very satisfying.”

Also chosen for the 50th anniversary retrospective was “Performance of Image and Video Processing with General-Purpose Processors and Media ISA Extensions” from ISCA 1999, co-authored with Parthasarathy Ranganathan and Norman P. Jouppi. Adve remembered that: “image and video processing applications were starting to get common, but there was little work to understand how architectural ideas of the day worked for these emerging applications. The paper performed the first such analysis for modern processors and again defined a large part of my career. It continues to do so until today as new applications emerge with new media and computing modalities.”

She noted that “My most recent work is on systems for augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), collectively extended reality (XR) or immersive computing. Our Illinois Extended Reality (ILLIXR) project recently released the first end-to-end full system open source XR system to democratize systems research in XR. It is being used in industry and academia for various XR-related problems. Most excitingly, we recently brought together all immersive computing-related expertise on campus under the IMMERSE Center. We are working on meeting the many challenges in this area, bringing together interdisciplinary work on technologies, applications, and human factors. I can trace all of this back to that first paper on media processing!”

ISCA is widely acknowledged as one of the most prestigious and competitive conferences in computer architecture. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign faculty and alumni have published impactful papers at the conference since its earliest days. Adve says that for her, much of that success can be attributed to our rock star students and active collaboration across departments and units on campus. She said:

“The collaboration culture at Illinois is fantastic among students and faculty. A lot of my reliability work was in collaboration with others here. I fondly remember taking a flight with my then-colleague Yuanyuan Zhou. She was working on software reliability issues. Sitting together on the plane, we wondered why we couldn’t apply those ideas to hardware reliability. And that started a long phase of impactful work together. The ideas continued in my recent work with Darko Marinov, Sasa Misailovic, who are in software engineering, and Chris Fletcher (another architect). We applied software engineering techniques to the hardware reliability problem. ILLIXR would not have happened without the support of Steve Lavalle, who had just returned from being chief scientist of Oculus. Going back further, I can trace ILLIXR’s roots to GRACE - a cross-layer adaptive multimedia system project that was well ahead of its time where I worked together with signal processing, networking, and multimedia faculty in Doug Jones, Robin Kravets, and Klara Nahrstedt.  And, of course, IMMERSE is all about collaboration as it involves faculty across campus and beyond CS, from the College of Medicine to Dance to Archaeology to many departments in the Grainger College of Engineering. In an example of putting money where your mouth is, the campus has made a $4 million investment in making IMMERSE happen through its Investment for Growth Program.”

Share this story

This story was published July 26, 2023.