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ISRG and the Post-PC Era. David Culler U.C. Berkeley ISRG Retreat Jan, 1999. Why is Internet-Scale Systems Research Concerned with Small “Post-PC” Devices?. Small Devices. billions. The Emerging Platform Pyramid. SuperComputers. SuperServers. 100s. Departmental Servers. 10Ks.

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isrg and the post pc era

ISRG and the Post-PC Era

David Culler

U.C. Berkeley

ISRG Retreat

Jan, 1999.

the emerging platform pyramid



The Emerging Platform Pyramid




Departmental Servers




< Million

Personal Computers

100 millions

ISRG Retreat

future internet scale systems
Future Internet-Scale Systems
  • ~10 Billion of Information Appliances
  • ~100 Million of Stationary Computers
  • ~Million Scalable Servers

ISRG Retreat

natural convergence
Natural Convergence
  • “Internet-Scale” => system reaches “everywhere”
    • small devices will be what is “wherever”
  • Small devices provide powerful services
    • because the intelligence is in the infrastructure
  • The breakthrough ahead is pervasive devices + communication
  • Services, adaptation, access, customization, simplicity, efficiency, ...

ISRG Retreat

seeds sewn in many projects
Seeds sewn in many projects
  • Infopad, Wingman, Mediaboard, Notepals, ...
  • Ninja - platform architecture
    • powerful services on small devices through a powerful infrastructure
  • Iceberg - integration of computing and telephony
  • Notepals - new user interfaces
  • IRAM - high performance multimedia at low power
  • Aetherstore - the data is out there
  • Demos around you...

ISRG Retreat

a radical experiment
A Radical Experiment
  • What we need is not a new research project
  • It is a new “computing culture”

ISRG Retreat

game plan oct 1998
Game Plan (Oct 1998)

Build a department-wide, universal wireless PDA infrastructure

  • Initial Seed: 150+ IBM workpads + lots of cradles + IR + ???
  • Running UI classes on them
  • Bring in all interested 1st year CS grads
  • Fill out based on interest, talent and availability
  • next generation wider and better

=> “ask a good question and get yours” seminar

ISRG Retreat

fall 98 project excerpts see posters
Fall’98 Project Excerpts (see posters)
  • E-Commerce and Security
    • Pay-Per-Use Services on the Palm Computing Platform (Mike Chen, Andrew Geweke)
    • Secure Email Infrastructure for PDAs (Hoon Kang, Rob von Behren)
    • SyncAnywhere - Secure Network HotSync (Mike Chen, Helen Wang)
  • Groupware
    • Kiretsu - Ninja Instant Messaging Service (Matt Welsh, Steve Gribble)
    • The MASH MediaPad - Shared Electronic Whiteboard for the PalmPilot (Yatin Chawathe)
    • NotePals - Lightweight Meeting Support Using PDAs (Richard Davis)
    • OSKI - Open Shared Kalendaring Infrastructure (Jason Hong, Brad Morrey, Mark Newman)
  • OS and Communications
    • PalmRouter - Networking Sporadically Connected Devices (Andras Ferencz, Robert Szewczyk)
  • Numerous Architecture Studies
  • CS160 UI Projects (see James Landay talk)
    • Ink Chat, Nutrition/Excercise Tracker, Rendezvous - Meeting Scheduler

ISRG Retreat

some lessons
Some Lessons
  • Communication is enabling
  • Virtual Environment really is a good thing
    • Devices connect “into the infrastructure”
    • Network HotSync, groupware, centralized e-mail

=> Need lean, clean communication substrate

  • Much room for improvement in devices
  • Palm III (WorkPad) is too slow…
    • adaptation involves trading cycles for bandwidth and interoperability

ISRG Retreat

  • Development effort is the limiting factor
    • OSKI: 1 person for infrastructure, 2 for WorkPad
    • Debugging is particularly hard

=> need complete system simulation environment

  • “User Service” is fundamental
    • not just profile and customization info
    • routing point for security
  • Surprising similarities with the “infrastructure problem”

ISRG Retreat

phase 2 plan real users
Phase 2 Plan: Real Users
  • Deploy some real WorkPad services
    • Secure e-mail
    • Network HotSync
    • Group Calendar
  • Widespread use of at least one service
    • more than 50 users?
    • highly available/reliable

ISRG Retreat

historical perspective
Historical Perspective
  • New eras of computing start when the previous era is so strong it is hard to imagine that things could be different
    • mainframe -> mini
    • mini -> workstation -> PC
    • PC -> ???
  • It is always smaller than what came before.
  • Most think of the new technology as “just a toy”
  • The new dominant use was almost completely absent before.
  • So where are we headed in the post-PC era?

ISRG Retreat