Faculty Candidate Seminar

Building Robust Systems Through System-Memory Co-Design

Minesh PatelPh.D. from ETH Zurich
3725 Beyster BuildingMap

Zoom link for remote participants, passcode:  147433

Abstract:  Main memory (DRAM) plays a central role in shaping the performance, reliability, and security of a wide range of modern computing systems. Unfortunately, worsening DRAM scaling challenges (e.g., increasing single-bit error rates, growing RowHammer vulnerability) are a significant threat to building robust systems. In this talk, I will discuss our recent efforts to understand and overcome the system-wide dependability consequences of DRAM on-die error-correcting codes (on-die ECC), a self-contained proprietary error-mitigation mechanism that is prevalent within modern DRAM chips and widely employed throughout computing systems today. Through a combination of real-chip experiments, statistical analyses, and simulation studies, I will: (i) show that on-die ECC obfuscates the statistical properties of main memory errors in a manner specific to the on-die ECC implementation used by a given chip and (ii) build a detailed understanding of how this obfuscation occurs, what its consequences are, and how those consequences can be overcome through system-memory co-design. Finally, I will discuss future research directions that explore practical cross-stack solutions for building robust next-generation computing systems.

Bio:  Minesh Patel is a recent Ph.D. graduate from ETH Zurich. His thesis work focused on overcoming performance, reliability, and security challenges in the memory system. In particular, his dissertation identifies and addresses new challenges for system-level error detection and mitigation targeting memory chips with integrated error correcting codes (ECC). He also worked collaboratively on understanding and solving the RowHammer vulnerability, near-data processing, efficient virtual memory management, and new hardware security primitives.

Throughout his graduate career, Minesh’s contributions have been recognized with several honors, including DSN’19 and MICRO’20 Best Paper Awards, the William Carter Dissertation Award in Dependability, the ETH Doctoral Medal, and induction into the ISCA Hall of Fame. Minesh has also been actively involved as a teaching assistant and research mentor for undergraduate and graduate students, several of whose research projects resulted in successful publications. Minesh is passionate about addressing robustness and security design challenges for current and emerging computing systems (e.g., autonomous systems, quantum computers) and is committed to teaching and education.


Cindy Estell

Student Host

Sumanth Umesh

Faculty Host

Yatin Manerkar