Illinois named an OpenSPARC Center of Excellence
Jennifer LaMontagne, Computer Science
- Illinois has been named an OpenSPARC Center of Excellence by Sun Microsystems, Inc.
- The center represents a collaboration between Illinois' CS and ECE departments and Sun in development of OpenSPARC, a global community that fosters the creation of tools and derivative chip designs.
- As part of the new Center of Excellence, Illinois researchers will be advancing the OpenSPARC movement through research in two primary areas: support for reliable processor hardware, and compilation for large numbers of threads.
The University of Illinois has been named an OpenSPARC Center of Excellence by Sun Microsystems, Inc. The Center represents a collaboration between the University of Illinois Departments of Computer Science and Electrical and Computer Engineering and Sun in support of OpenSPARC, a global community that fosters the creation of tools and derivative chip designs based on Sun's UltraSPARC T1 processor.
As part of the new Center of Excellence, Illinois researchers will be advancing the OpenSPARC movement through research in two primary areas: support for reliable processor hardware, and compilation for large numbers of threads.
In the area of support for reliable processor hardware, Illinois researchers will investigate new mechanisms to detect and recover from hardware faults caused by parameter variation, wear-out, design defects, radiation-induced soft errors, and infant mortality due to insufficient burn-in.
"Hardware reliability will be a major obstacle to reaping the benefits of increased integration projected by Moore's law," said computer science professor Sarita Adve, one of several faculty members involved in the effort. "We are developing a low-cost, flexible, and application-customizable system framework that can detect, diagnose, recover from, and repair or reconfigure around a variety of hardware and software faults."
The second area of focus for the center includes research into novel compilation strategies and programming languages for highly-threaded shared memory multiprocessors, including the interaction between memory models and compilation strategies.
"Parameter variation is a major obstacle to the continued scaling of integrated-circuit technology," explains Josep Torrellas, computer science professor. "If parameter variation is not addressed, the result will be processor chips that run at lower frequencies and are much less power efficient than they would be capable of."
The group plans to take a cross-disciplinary approach to address this challenge, investigating solutions from micro-architecture, CAD, and software perspectives.
The OpenSPARC Center of Excellence at Illinois harnesses the efforts of a research team with a high level of experience in a variety of complementary areas. The team includes ECE Professor Deming Chen and computer science faculty members Josep Torrellas, Sarita Adve, Vikram Adve, Craig Zilles, Sam King, Maria Garzaran, YY Zhou, and David Padua.
The OpenSPARC movement aims to increase participation in SPARC processor architecture development and application design by making hardware intellectual property freely available. The hope is that, by leveraging the open source community, developers will be able to rapidly create new and more tightly integrated thread-rich applications at a markedly lower cost.
Research conducted at this center is critical to the success of this effort, as it addresses the primary challenges to widespread adoption of multiprocessor architectures like those represented by OpenSPARC.