Parallel Distributed Infrastructure for Minimization of Energy


Ten minutes with…Pascal Felber, University of Neuchâtel

Tue, 2014-12-02

Pascal Felber

Pascal Felber leads the research group on Complex Systems in the Computer Science department at the University of Neuchâtel. The department focuses on large-scale distributed, concurrent and dependable systems. Along with Pascal, University of Neuchâtel researchers Anita Sobe, Yarco Hayduk and Mascha Kurpicz are also involved in the project.


Can you tell me a bit about your main research interests? What led you to work in this field?

My main research interests are distributed and concurrent systems. The same problems that you find in distributed systems are also encountered in concurrent systems; these include synchronisation problems, access to shared data, fault tolerance, or various kinds of agreement problems.  

After completing my PhD on fault-tolerant distributed computing, which was one of the topics of interest at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), the university where I studied, I went to work in in the United States and spent some time at Oracle and at Bell Labs. 


What, for you, are the most compelling reasons why we should create more energy-efficient computing systems?

The evolution of cloud computing with the development of huge data centres where you mutualise resources means that there is greater incentive to reduce the footprint.

Neuchâtel, with its long-established watchmaking industry, is a hub of microelectronics research. It has a history of energy research, partly due to the requirement for low energy consumption in microelectronics. It also specialises in renewable energy: for instance, it is where the first set of ‘white’ solar panels have been developed, and there is a whole research culture based on this field in Neuchâtel.


What, for you, are the key technical challenges which need to be tackled in order to achieve more energy-efficient computing systems?

First we need more efficient hardware, with more efficient chips; this needs to be combined with more intelligent software which can maximise the use of the hardware. Most of the energy loss in ICT currently comes from idle computers, so greater energy efficiency can be achieved by creating low-energy computers used 100% of the time.

Another aspect is making better use of computers: people often browse the web or watch videos on YouTube, for example, without realising how much energy this takes up. I think a cultural change is necessary. Even clicking on ‘search’ in Google generates much more activity globally in the system than users might expect.


Is it possible to deliver genuine energy savings while achieving optimum performance?

There is always a balance between performance and energy. If you want to increase performance slightly, you often have to greatly increase the energy. For me, it’s about making more reasonable use of resources and prioritisation, i.e., distributing resources by also taking into account what is critical and what is not.


What are the main improvements which you would like to see in the computing systems of the future?

I would like to see systems which are more intelligent in the way they operate – ones which adapt to ensure better energy consumption based on need. For example, I love embedded systems and would love to buy a smart watch, but a watch with a battery life of only one day is a no go. Smart products should operate at the level at which you need them, so a watch could be on standby all day without any of the ‘smart’ features enabled.


What will the lasting impact of the ParaDIME project be?

This is a great project for facilitating future research focusing on how to use resources more effectively. It has given us the opportunity to collaborate with researchers on concrete problems that need to be solved.

As for the wider impact, this project has shown that energy efficiency is not a simple problem, but rather one involving a lot of different aspects and parties, both at the level of hardware and software. There are many variables and many trade-offs to be investigated. The most likely solution will be to provide a mix of different hardware components and software systems that can be leveraged according to the problem to be solved.

ParaDIME at the Green Codelab Challenge in Nantes

Thu, 2014-11-27

ParaDIME is going to be represented in the Colloquium of the Green Codelab Challenge in Nantes.The colloquium is co-hosted with a competition on programming green software, where students from all over Europe participate from 27/28th November. 

Anita Sobe gave her presentation in Nantes. If you want to go directly to the presentation [video]

  The overall presentation follows

When a greener cloud = warm homes: IEEE reports on Cloud&Heat

Thu, 2014-11-20

ParaDIME partner Cloud&Heat has been garnering plenty of positive press recently, including a headline spot in the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Spectrum Energywise newsletter. This article, which features Cloud&Heat’s video “The Green Cloud”, explains how the German company’s win-win concept: installing mini data centers in homes and offices which provide free heating for the host.

The company’s “distributed cloud heaters”, the article continues, would cost about the same as a conventional heating system. For their part, Cloud&Heat avoid many datacenter infrastructure costs and have access to a well-distributed network.

You can read the full article on the IEEE Spectrum website

René Marcel Schretzmann, Dr Jens Struckmeier and Prof Christof Fetzer from Cloud&Heat

ParaDIME ideas presented at LADIS workshop

Fri, 2014-10-24

ParaDIME members Prof. Dr. Christof Fetzer of TUD and his PhD student Thomas Knauth attended the 8th Workshop on Large-Scale Distributed Systems and Middleware (LADIS). The event was hosted by Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK. Prof. Dr. Christof Fetzer gave a talk titled "Energie-Efficient Storage and Processing in Edge Clouds", based on a paper previously published at IEEE Cloud earlier this year.


The talk was well received and led to some interesting discussions afterwards. The infrastructure provided by ParaDIME partner Cloud&Heat, which is used and evaluated within the ParaDIME context, could be beneficial for future use cases such as caching and computing in edge clouds.

A busy month of June for TUD's ParaDIME members

Thu, 2014-07-10
The month of June has been a busy month for TUDParaDIME members presented a total of three papers at three different conferences. In the beginning of June, Thomas Knauth presented his work titled "DreamServer: Truly On-Demand Cloud Services" at the Israeli Systems and Storage conference (SYSTOR). At the end of June, Thomas gave an invited talk to present his work on efficient synchronization of gigabyte-sized binary data at the USENIX Annual Technical Conference. His work won the Best Paper Award at USENIX LISA last year.
TUD's activity in June was rounded off by Frezewd Lemma's presentation of his work titled "PowerCass: Energy Efficient, Consistent Hashing Based Storage for Micro Clouds Based Infrastructure" at the 7th IEEE Cloud conference which took place in Alaska from June 27 to July 2. We are also happy to announce that Frezewd's work won the Best Student Paper Award.
As for upcoming conference where TUD will present work done in the context of ParaDIME: next up is the HotSDN workshop in August. Thomas will present a poster paper with the title "Sloth: SDN-enabled Activity-based Virtual Machine Deployment".

ParaDIME presents: A summer of energy-efficient computing

Wed, 2014-07-02

Just in time for summer, we’re taking ParaDIME on the road, with a series of project-related presentations at events over the next few months. Come along to meet our researchers and find out how ParaDIME is reworking everything from hardware to applications to make computing more energy efficient.

First up is the ISVLSI 2014: IEEE Computer Society Annual Symposium on Very-large-scale integration (VLSI) in sunny Tampa, Florida, USA from 9-11 July 2014. Researchers from Barcelona Supercomputing Center will be discussing system-level power and energy-estimation methodology for open multimedia applications on 10 July, in the 4.30-5.30pm session.

Next, along with a clutch of projects focusing on delivery energy-efficient computing, ParaDIME will be represented at the ICT-Energy summer school taking place in Perugia, Italy from 14-18 July 2014. Romantic Verona will be the backdrop for our talk at DSD 2014, the Euromicro Conference on Digital System Design from 27-29 August 2014.

To round off the summer, researchers will discuss the DESSERT (DESign Space ExploRation Tool based on Power and Energy at System-Level) tool at the IEEE SOCC 2014: IEEE International System-on-Chip Conference in Las Vegas from 2-5 September 2014.

We look forward to seeing you there – don’t forget in the meantime you can contact us with any project queries via the ParaDIME website contact form

Map with markers showing ParaDIME events in Tampa, Perugia, Verona and Las Vegas

ParaDIME researcher Oscar Palomar speaking at a conference

ParaDIME researchers Yarco Hayduk, Santhosh Rethinagiri and Oscar Palomarat an event

Micro-Energy day

Thu, 2014-06-26

On June 26th Barcelona Supercomputing Center and ParaDIME will celebrate the fourth Micro-Energy Day as part of the activities in the ICT-Energy Coordination Action! The initiative is presented in and is part of the initiatives organized during the 2014 European Sustainable Energy Week.  Join us in Perugia and Barcelona to celebrate the importance of the micro-energy in our daily life.
Micro-energy refers to the energy that is often disregarded as unimportant but actually plays a significant role in our daily life. As an example… when you run out of battery in your mobile phone and really need to make that call!!! The amount of energy involved in this case is really very small compared to the energy required to drive a car, but you definitely notice when it's not there…
In Barcelona: Join us in the Torre Girona Chapel to learn about micro-energy or just download our flyer!

Micro-Energy Day Flyer page 1Micro-Energy Day Flyer page 2Micro-Energy Day flyer on BSC premisesGroup discussing Micro-Energy Day with flyersTwo people discussing Micro-Energy Day with flyersVisitors to MareNostrum on Micro-Energy Day

ParaDIME in ICT Energy Workshop

Tue, 2014-04-01

ICT-Energy Community Workshop - Barcelona, 23-25 April 2014


ICT-Energy is a consortium among research groups interested in the role of energy in ICT devices.

The workshop will allow extended discussions and therefore foster cooperation between the project partners and the groups participating to the consortia.

The first day of the meeting is devoted to a short training course with 4 lectures on basic, introductory aspects of the science of ICT-Energy. The workshop is open to the participation of all the interested people. For the complete agenda, please visit the website. Please confirm your participation to emma.torrella [@] .


ParaDIME in FPGA 2014

Wed, 2014-02-26

ParaDIME member Santhosh Kumar Rethinagiri presented his work at The ACM/SIGDA International Symposium on Field-Programmable Gate Arrays is the premier conference for presentation of advances in all areas related to FPGA technology.

ParaDIME at ISQED 2014

Tue, 2014-03-04

ParaDIME members Santhosh and Halil presented their work done in the project at The 16th International Symposium on Quality Electronic Design (ISQED 2014)—the premier interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary Electronic Design conference—bridges the gap among Electronic/Semiconductor ecosystem members providing electronic design tools, integrated circuit technologies, semiconductor technology,packaging, assembly & test to achieve design quality.

ParaDIME in RAPIDO 2014

Wed, 2014-01-22
ParaDIME member Santhosh Kumar Rethinagiri presented his work at Rapid Simulation and Performance Evaluation (RAPIDO) workshop in Vienna, Austria. 

ParaDIME in DMTM Workshop

Wed, 2014-01-22

ParaDIME members Oscar and Yarco presented their work done in the project at the Joint Euro-TM/MEDIAN Workshop on Dependable Multicore and Transactional Memory Systems (DMTM) at Vienna, Austria.

Palomar, O.G. YalcinS K. RethinagiriO. UnsalA C. Kestelman, And G. Alioto"ParaDIME: Parallel Distributed Infrastructure for Minimization of Energy",

Hayduk, Y.A. Sobe, And P. Felber"Dynamic parallel message processing with transactional memory in the actor model", 

ParaDIME in HiPEAC Conference

Tue, 2014-01-21

ParaDIME members Oscar and Santhosh from BSC presented the ParaDIME project at HiPEAC 2014 conference in Vienna, Austria. 

ParaDIME in HiPEAC newsletter

Wed, 2014-01-01

A presentation of the ParaDIME project appeared in the January 2014 quarterly edition of the HiPEAC info newsletterHiPEAC is the European Network of Excellence on High Performance and Embedded Architecture and Compilation.

ParaDIME in the french-speaking community at COMPAS'14

Tue, 2014-04-22

ParaDIME participates with 2 posters at the COMPAS conference (Conférence d’informatique en Parallélisme, Architecture et Système organized by the University of Neuchatel:

  • Yaroslav Hayduk, Pascal Felber et Anita SobeTowards an API for managing energy-efficiency at all levels of a system stack
  • Mascha Kurpicz, Maxime Colmant, Loïc Huertas, Anita Sobe, Pascal Felber et Romain RouvoyEst-ce que ton application dans le nuage est économe en énergie? Estimation de la puissance par processus dans des systèmes virtualisés.

The conference was covered by the media, especially the local TV channel Canal Alpha, which performed an interview with Mascha Kurpicz presenting a poster in the context of ParaDIME and Marie-Christine Sawley, director of Intel Labs Paris.