The University of Illinois Shines at ISCA 2019
Faculty and students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign shined in front of more than 800 attendees at the International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA) in June 2019. ISCA is the premier conference in computer architecture, where only the best and most promising research is presented.
Seven of the 62 papers accepted to the conference came from the U. of I., despite the conference’s low acceptance rate—less than 17% of the papers submitted to ISCA 2019 were accepted for presentation.
As noted below, the seven Illinois papers covered a variety of topics. Illinois faculty and students are marked with an asterisk:
- “Energy-Efficient Video Processing for Virtual Reality”, by Yue Leng*, Chi-chun Chen, Qiuyue Sun, Jian Huang*, and Yuhao Zhu.
Virtual reality videos contain 360-degree views that need to be projected to planar frames for display in 2D devices. This paper describes a clever algorithm that performs such transformation energy-efficiently.
- “Accelerating Distributed Reinforcement Learning with In-Switch Computing”, by Youjie Li*, Iou-Jen Liu*, Deming Chen*, Alexander Schwing*, and Jian Huang*.
Reinforcement learning can be sped-up if it is performed by multiple communicating nodes. However, such distributed operation is bottlenecked by communication costs. This paper describes an accelerator in the network that processes and combines the messages.
- “MicroScope: Enabling Microarchitectural Replay Attacks”, by Dimitrios Skarlatos*, Mengjia Yan*, Bhargava Gopireddy*, Read Sprabery*, Josep Torrellas*, and Christopher Fletcher*.
This paper introduces Microarchitectural Replay attacks on processors. These attacks cause a set of instructions to be squashed and re-executed multiple times, by repeatedly flushing the processor pipeline. As a result, the attacker can easily observe the side-effects of these instructions.
- “SecDir: A Secure Directory to Defeat Directory Side-Channel Attacks”, by Mengjia Yan*, Jen-Yang Wen*, Christopher Fletcher*, and Josep Torrellas*.
Directories are key hardware structures in the cache hierarchy of multiprocessors that keep data coherent. Unfortunately, they can be attacked by an attacker and leak program information. This paper describes the first design of a secure directory to prevent such attacks.
- “Designing Vertical Processors in Monolithic 3D”, by Bhargava Gopireddy* and Josep Torrellas*.
Monolithic 3D is a new technology that can stack processing and memory layers on top of each other vertically. The result is high performance and low energy consumption. This paper describes the first processor architecture that is designed for this technology.
- “HALO: Accelerating Flow Classification for Scalable Packet Processing in NFV”, by Yifan Yuan*, Yipeng Wang, Ren Wang, and Jian Huang*.
Processing network packets in software is a major bottleneck in cloud computing machines. To reduce such overhead, this paper proposes a hardware accelerator associated with the caches that performs packet processing in hardware.
- “AxMemo: Hardware-Compiler Codesign for Approximate Code Memoization”, by Zhenhong Liu*, Amir Yazdanbakhsh, Dong Kai Wang*, Hadi Esmaeilzadeh, and Nam Sung Kim*.
Memoization is a technique where, as a function executes, inputs and outputs are recorded and saved; later, when the function is invoked again with the same inputs, the hardware skips function execution and returns the saved outputs. This paper presents a processor hardware extension that supports memoization.
ISCA 2019 was a great showcase for Illinois faculty and students, with 11% of the published papers coming from Illinois! The depth and breadth of the work performed by these and other researchers makes the U. of I. one of the leading institutions for computer architecture research.