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Theses Doctoral

Heterogeneous Cloud Systems Based on Broadband Embedded Computing

Neill, Richard W.

Computing systems continue to evolve from homogeneous systems of commodity-based servers within a single data-center towards modern Cloud systems that consist of numerous data-center clusters virtualized at the infrastructure and application layers to provide scalable, cost-effective and elastic services to devices connected over the Internet. There is an emerging trend towards heterogeneous Cloud systems driven from growth in wired as well as wireless devices that incorporate the potential of millions, and soon billions, of embedded devices enabling new forms of computation and service delivery. Service providers such as broadband cable operators continue to contribute towards this expansion with growing Cloud system infrastructures combined with deployments of increasingly powerful embedded devices across broadband networks. Broadband networks enable access to service provider Cloud data-centers and the Internet from numerous devices. These include home computers, smart-phones, tablets, game-consoles, sensor-networks, and set-top box devices. With these trends in mind, I propose the concept of broadband embedded computing as the utilization of a broadband network of embedded devices for collective computation in conjunction with centralized Cloud infrastructures. I claim that this form of distributed computing results in a new class of heterogeneous Cloud systems, service delivery and application enablement. To support these claims, I present a collection of research contributions in adapting distributed software platforms that include MPI and MapReduce to support simultaneous application execution across centralized data-center blade servers and resource-constrained embedded devices. Leveraging these contributions, I develop two complete prototype system implementations to demonstrate an architecture for heterogeneous Cloud systems based on broadband embedded computing. Each system is validated by executing experiments with applications taken from bioinformatics and image processing as well as communication and computational benchmarks. This vision, however, is not without challenges. The questions on how to adapt standard distributed computing paradigms such as MPI and MapReduce for implementation on potentially resource-constrained embedded devices, and how to adapt cluster computing runtime environments to enable heterogeneous process execution across millions of devices remain open-ended. This dissertation presents methods to begin addressing these open-ended questions through the development and testing of both experimental broadband embedded computing systems and in-depth characterization of broadband network behavior. I present experimental results and comparative analysis that offer potential solutions for optimal scalability and performance for constructing broadband embedded computing systems. I also present a number of contributions enabling practical implementation of both heterogeneous Cloud systems and novel application services based on broadband embedded computing.

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Academic Units
Computer Science
Thesis Advisors
Carloni, Luca
Degree
Ph.D., Columbia University
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