University of Toronto
Department of Computer Science

A Distinguished Lecture on Computer Science

Margo I. Seltzer

Gordon McKay Professor

Harvard University

Operating System Extensibility to Improve Application Performance and Functionality


In this talk, I will discuss the inherent tension between preserving the stability and robustness of an operating system and providing applications with the flexibility needed to run efficiently. In this context, I will present the VINO extensible operating system developed at Harvard, show how VINO addresses this tension, and demonstrate the performance gains and trade-offs that applications can make in such a system.

We will see that different applications benefit from different types of extensions, and that determining the best extension for any given application is challenging. I will conclude the talk with a description of our new hBench measurement methodology that allows users and developers to assess a system's performance with respect to the needs of particular application.


Margo I. Seltzer is a Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science in the Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. Her research interests include file systems, databases, and transaction processing systems. She is the author of several widely-used software packages including database and transaction libraries and the 4.4BSD log-structured file system. Dr. Seltzer spent several years working at startup companies designing and implementing file systems and transaction processing software and designing microprocessors. She is a Sloan Foundation Fellow in Computer Science, a Bunting Fellow, and was the recipient of the 1996 Radcliffe Junior Faculty Fellowship, the University of California Microelectronics Scholarship. She is recognized as an outstanding teacher and won the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award in 1996 and the Abrahmson Teaching Award in 1999. Dr. Seltzer received an A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1983 and a Ph. D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992.

Following the colloquium, Prof Seltzer will be participating on a panel discussing the CS graduate school experience. If you are contemplating a research career in CS, you are invited to attend.
Host: contact Dr. Reid for information on the speaker's schedule.

Time and Location: GB (Galbraith) 244, 11am Friday, December 1st.

R. J. Miller
Last modified: Mon Nov 20 18:06:35 EST 2000