Automated Experimentation: Beyond Deployment and Execution

09 Feb
02/09/2011 - 11:00am to 12:00pm
Distinguished Lecturer Series

Alexander Wolf
Imperial College, London
Department of Computing

Computer Science Building, Rooms 150 & 151

Faculty Host: Lori Clarke & Leon Osterweil

Experimentation is used widely in both research and practice as a means to reveal and validate the behavioral properties of distributed software system implementations. It is intended to answer questions about such things as the factors leading to performance bottlenecks, the through put rates to be expected from particular configurations, or the scalability of the system in various dimensions. Although heavily used, experimentation remains today a complex, time-consuming, and costly process. Attempts to automate the process for large-scale distributed systems have generally focused on deploying and executing them on a suitable test bed, which leaves the challenging activities of experimental design, workload generation, data collection, data analysis, and overall experiment management to the engineer. This talk presents a model-driven automation framework we are developing that is intended to take better account of the full richness and complexity of the experimentation process. We have used it to experiment with a variety of systems, including Apache's ActiveMQ, the Chord FileSystem, the Siena distributed publish/subscribe service, and software routers for a content-based network.


Alexander L. Wolf is a professor in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London. He received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Prof. Wolf was a Member of the Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, and then on the faculty of the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he held the C.V. Schelke Chair in the College of Engineering. Before moving to London he helped found the Faculty of Informatics at the University of Lugano, the first such faculty in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland.

Prof. Wolf's research interests are directed toward the discovery of principles and development of technologies to support the engineering of large, complex software systems. He has published in the areas of software engineering, distributed systems, networking, security, and database management. He is best known for his seminal work in software architecture, distributed publish/subscribe services, and content-based networking.

Prof. Wolf currently serves as Secretary-Treasurer of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). He chairs the ACM Software System Award committee and is a member of the ACM Europe Council. Prof. Wolf serves on the editorial board of the Research Highlights section of Communications of the ACM.

Prof. Wolf is a Fellow of the ACM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, holder of a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award, and a recipient of the ACM SIGSOFT Research Impact Award. He recently received the Outstanding Achievement in Research Alumni Award from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Department of Computer Science, which has imbued him with immeasurable joy and humbling pride.

A reception will be held at 3:40 in the atrium, outside the presentation rooms.