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Neha Narula on The Scalable Commutativity Rule

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Zeeshan L. and 6 others


We're so excited to have Neha Narula, a PhD student in PDOS (, the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group at MIT, and an amazing speaker ( and researcher (, presenting on The Scalable Commutativity Rule: Designing Scalable Software for Multicore Processors ( by Clements, Kaashoek, Zeldovich, Morris, and Kohler.


Moore's law is over, or at least, we won't be making programs go faster by running on faster processors, but instead by parallelizing our code to use more of them. Reasoning about concurrent code is difficult; but it's also very hard to understand whether your design has latent scalability bottlenecks until you can actually run it on many cores. And what if the problem is in your interface, instead of just the implementation?

This paper presents a simple, elegant rule: whenever interface operations commute, they can be implemented in a way that scales.

The authors apply this idea to Linux, and create a new operating system by using the rule, sv6. Their paper also comes with software, COMMUTER (, which can help developers evaluate their interfaces to find opportunities for scaling.

This is a very powerful idea, and probably has applications in other areas like distributed systems. In this talk I'll present the paper, and speculate a bit about where else this research could be useful.


Neha Narula (@neha ( is a PhD candidate at MIT building fast, scalable distributed systems. In a previous life she was a Senior Software Engineer at Google, where she designed the first version of Blobstore, a system for storing and serving petabytes of immutable data, and worked on Native Client, a system for running native code securely through the browser.


TwoSigma ( - Platinum Sponsor of the New York chapter



Doors open at 7 pm; the presentation will begin at 7:30 pm; and, yes, there will be refreshments of all kinds and pizza.

After Neha presents the paper, we will open up the floor to discussion and questions.

We hope that you'll read the paper before the meetup, but don't stress if you can't. If you have any questions, thoughts, or related information, please visit our github-thread ( on the matter.

Additionally, if you have any papers you want to add to the repository above (papers that you love!), please send us a pull request ( Also, if you have any ideas/questions about this meetup or the Papers-We-Love org, just open up an issue.

April's meetup is sponsored by

35 East 21st St, FL 10, 10010 · New York, NY
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