Sep 15, 2014

Welcome to new faculty: Dr. Tongping Liu

Tongping Liu became an assistant professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio since the fall of 2014. He got his Ph.D. degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst during the same year.


His research spans runtime systems, operating systems, programming language and software engineering, compilers, and distributed systems. His primary research goal is to practically improve the reliability and performance of parallel software.


He has been worked on different techniques to attack false sharing problems of multithreaded programs. False sharing can silently degrade the performance of multithreading programs. He developed the first accurate and precise detection tool that can pinpoint the name of global variables or the line of source code of heap objects that have false sharing problems inside, without any false positives. However, fixing false sharing problems is unable to improve the performance or is impossible because of lacking source code or time. He also provided a runtime system that can automatically boost the performance of those programs with false sharing problems inside. He also observed that the behavior of false sharing can change because of different environment setting, such as using a different compiler, adding/removing some code, or running on a different hardware platform. He further provided another tool, PREDATOR, which can even detect false sharing problems without occurrences. Predator is the first tool to precisely detect false sharing problems happening in those complex real applications like MySQL.


He also designed a deterministic multithreading system, DTHREADS,  that automatically ensures determinism for unmodified C/C++ applications using the pthreads library, without requiring programmer intervention and hardware support. Because of determinism, it greatly simplifies the understanding and debugging of multithreaded programs. DTHREADS outperforms the previous state-of-the-art (CoreDet) more than 3X. Multiple research work has been built on DTHREADS framework afterwards.


His work appeared in those most prestigious system conferences, including SOSP and OSDI. His work has attracted the interests of different industry giants, such as IBM, Intel, Huawei and MathWorks. In the future, he also plans to work on the field of big data and cloud computing, which he has started as a research intern in IBM research and NEC research.