Query Processing at Line Speed

Staff - Faculty of Informatics

Date: 18 March 2019 / 13:30 - 14:30

USI Lugano Campus, room SI-004, Informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)

Alberto Lerner, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Programmable switches are a class of network devices that run packet-forwarding logic as programs. They replace fixed-function switches, where the forwarding logic is mostly hardware-based and thus inherently difficult to change. Curiously, programmable switches can and have been used for other computations beyond networking protocols
-- executing those at a very high speed. Porting computations to a switch, however, requires more than translating algorithms designed for general-purpose CPUs. The programming model is so peculiar that some best in-class algorithms in one platform are under-performers on the other. Some are even not portable.
Of particular interest to us is accelerating distributed query plans in Massively Parallel Processing (MPP) databases. In this talk, I will start by presenting an example of porting a segment of a query to a programmable switch, discussing the techniques and algorithms we used to do so. I will then discuss our ongoing effort to characterize the subset of computations in SQL queries that are amenable to be offloaded into a switch, offering algorithms to identify and translate such segments into switch-friendly computations.

Alberto Lerner is a Senior Researcher at the eXascale Infolab at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. His interests include systems that explore closely coupling of hardware and software in order to realize untapped performance and/or functionality. Previously, he spent years in the industry consulting for large, data-hungry verticals such as finance and advertisement. He had also been part of the teams behind a few different database engines: IBM's DB2, working on robustness aspects of the query optimizer, Google's Bigtable, on elasticity aspects, and MongoDB, on general architecture. Alberto received his Ph.D. from ENST - Paris (now ParisTech), having done his thesis research work at INRIA/Rocquencourt and NYU. He's also done post-doctoral work at IBM Research (both at T.J. Watson and Almaden).

Host: Prof. Robert Soulé