SCS Faculty Candidate

  • Assistant Clinical Professor
  • College of Computer and Information Science,
  • Northeastern University

Bringing Distributed Data Systems to End Users

End users wish to analyze and use huge amounts of data with a few taps on their keyboards. To make this vision a reality calls for the implementation of sophisticated software architectures that utilize the vast power of distributed systems. Without proper language support, the labor of software developers can easily spoil the most well-intentioned design.

In this talk, I present research results in this realm inspired by my work with the Apache Spark project and the Scala programming language.

In frameworks like Spark, the key idea is to ship functionality to large amounts of distributed data, which is a markedly error-prone affair. The first of these research results increases the reliability of distributing functions and objects, while providing better performance than state of the art approaches for serializing and distributing data. Building on this result, in our second result, we develop a new programming abstraction for reasoning about and working with distributed data. This approach, called Function Passing, turns traditional approaches based on actors and message passing on their head and provides several novel benefits and guarantees concerning communication among parallel-distributed computations.

Heather Miller is an Assistant Clinical Professor at Northeastern University’s College of Computer and Information Science in Boston and the executive director of the Scala Center at EPFL, where she is also a research scientist. She recently completed her PhD in EPFL’s Faculty of Computer and Communication Science where she contributed to the now-widespread programming language, Scala. Heather’s research interests are at the intersection of data-centric distributed systems and programming languages, with a focus on transferring her research results into industrial use. She has also led development of popular MOOCs some 800,000 students strong, such as “Functional Programming Principles in Scala.”

Faculty Host: Jonathan Aldrich

For More Information, Please Contact: