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Rethinking Bulk Data Transfers for Next-Generation Applications

Himabindu Pucha
Computer Science Department, Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Low (CII) 3051 - 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 3:30 p.m.


How did you use the Internet today? The answer to this question has significantly evolved in the last decade. Ten years ago, we were browsing simple websites with text and images, and communicating via instant messaging and emails. In addition to these applications, today's users are engaging in on-demand video streaming, multimedia conferencing, and sharing files from software updates to personal music, and as a result transferring large volumes of data (of the order of Mbytes) more frequently than ever. Hence, bulk data transfers at the core of these applications are becoming increasingly important and are expected to provide high throughput and efficiency. Contrary to these expectations, however, our study of file sharing networks confirms previous observations that bulk data transfers are slow and inefficient, motivating the need to rethink their design. In this talk, I will present my approach to address a prominent performance bottleneck for these bulk data transfers: Lack of sufficient sources of data to download from. My work addresses this challenge by (1) exploiting network peers that serve files similar to the file being downloaded, and (2) by coupling all the available network resources with similar data on the local disk of a receiver. My talk will also highlight the system design and implementation for the above solutions. For example, I will discuss handprinting, a novel and efficient algorithmic technique to locate the additional similar network peers with only a constant overhead. Finally, a transfer system that simultaneously benefits from disk and network is required to work well across a diverse range of operating environments and scenarios resulting from varying network and disk performance. I will present the design principles for an all-weather transfer system that adapts to a wide spectrum of operating conditions by monitoring resource availability.


Himabindu Pucha is currently a post-doctoral fellow in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She received her doctorate in December 2007 and her Masters degree in 2003 from the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Purdue University. Her research interests span distributed systems, computer networks, and mobile computing. She is an ACM Student Research Competition finalist this year and a recipient of the Google Anita Borg Scholarship and the Purdue Violet Haas award.

Hosted by: Bolek Szymanski (x2714)

Administrative support: Sharon Simmons (x8291)

For more information:

Dr. Himabindu Pucha's Homepage

Last updated: March 14, 2008