Urgaonkar wins SIGMETRICS Test of Time Award

April 18, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A paper co-authored by Bhuvan Urgaonkar, associate professor of computer science and engineering at Penn State, was recently selected as the winner of the 2016 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group for the computer systems evaluation community (SIGMETRICS) Test of Time Award.

The award recognizes an influential performance evaluation paper whose impact is still felt 10-12 years after its initial publication.

"An analytical model for multi-tier internet services and its applications,” by Urgaonkar, Giovanni Pacifici (IBM), Prashant Shenoy (University of Massachusetts), Mike Spreitzer (IBM) and Asser Tantawi (IBM) was published in 2005. The paper focuses on the problem of analytically modeling the behavior of such applications. It presents a model based on a network of queues, where the queues represent different tiers of the application.

According to Urgaonkar, the paper was among the first to develop an effective analytical model for multi-tiered Internet applications, which he said was an important class of data center workloads before 2005.

“Applications of this type continue to be important in today's data centers. As an example, consider an e-commerce application such as amazon.com wherein the processing of a client request consists of sequential stages/tiers — for example front-end load balancing and admission control, web servers, query caches, application logic, persistent databases — each with parallelism within it,” said Urgaonkar. “How do you capture the relationship between the performance such an application offers its clients and the resources allocated to its different tiers? Furthermore, how do you do this in an online and computationally-efficient manner?”

The authors of the paper used a network of queues and employed a computational technique called mean-value analysis to solve these problems, which they then published in their report. Since then the paper has driven additional research in this area and has been cited more than 500 times.

“My wonderful co-authors and I feel honored and humbled by this award,” said Urgaonkar. “It is extremely satisfying to see how effective our rather simple analytical model has proved to be over the years.”

The authors will be awarded at the ACM SIGMETRICS conference in June, in Juan-les-Pins, France. The conference is the flagship conference of the ACM special interest group for the computer systems performance evaluation community.

Urgaonkar studies analytical modeling and optimization of computer systems, cloud computing and data centers, distributed computing, fault tolerance, operating systems, power management and sustainable information technology.

Last Updated April 18, 2016