Date Posted: 2/27/2006

Keshav Pingali presented a talk titled "Who needs optimizing compilers when we have self-optimizing systems?" at Rice University as a Distinguished Lecture on February 1, 2006.

In this talk, Pingali presented some recent experimental studies conducted by his group on cache-aware and cache-oblivious self-optimizing systems that generate high-performance code without compromising on portability.

"Our results show that traditional model-driven optimization of the kind performed by compilers can be surprisingly effective, and can generate code with performance comparable to that of code generated by self-optimizing cache-conscious systems using empirical search," Pingali said. "We also show that substantial effort may be required to produce cache-oblivious codes that perform well on modern machines, and that even highly optimized versions may not perform as well as cache-aware codes for the same problem."

Pingali is a professor in Cornell's Computer Science department, where he holds the India Chair in Computer Science. He holds a joint appointment in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and he is an associate director of the Cornell Theory Center. He received the B.Tech. degree in electrical engineering from IIT, Kanpur, India in 1978, and the S.M. E.E., and Sc.D. degrees from M.I.T. in 1986.

Pingali's research has focused on programming languages and compiler technology for program understanding, restructuring, and optimization. His group is known for its contributions to memory-hierarchy optimization; some of which have been patented. Algorithms and tools developed by his projects are used in many commercial products such as Intel's IA-64 compiler, SGI's MIPSPro compiler, and HP's PA-RISC compiler.

In his current research, he is investigating language based fault-tolerance and highly adaptive software systems for large-scale computational science simulations. Among other awards, Pingali has won the President's Gold Medal at I.I.T. Kanpur (1978), IBM Faculty Development Award (1986-87), NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award (1989-94), Ip-Lee Teaching Award of the College of Engineering at Cornell (1997), and the Russell teaching award of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell (1998).