Beneath their smooth exteriors, modern computers behave in wildly unpredictable ways. UW CSE faculty members Luis Ceze, Mark Oskin, and Dan Grossman and UW grad students Owen Anderson, Tom Bergan, Joseph Devietti, Brandon Lucia, and Nick Hunt have found a way to “tame” multiprocessor computers.
“‘With older, single-processor systems, computers behave exactly the same way as long as you give the same commands. Today’s computers are non-deterministic. Even if you give the same set of commands, you might get a different result,’ Ceze said.”
The team has developed a way to get modern, multiple-processor computers to behave in predictable ways, by automatically parceling sets of commands and assigning them to specific places. Sets of commands get calculated simultaneously, so the well-behaved program still runs faster than it would on a single processor.