Greetings from Zurich and the morning of the second day of PODC! Went for a short hike when I arrived on Sunday in the mountains above the city: meadows, mountain views, cowbells, great chocolate for a snack, lots and lots of very healthy looking blond people – a complete Swiss experience! Pictured on the right is the Swiss National museum next to lake Zurich which abuts the city.
Yesterday Hagit Attiya gave an invited talk on Transactional Memory. The tone of the talk was pessimistic about the benefits of transactional memory, arguing that it has significant theoretical and practical limitations, and that it weakens either consistency or progress guarantees (or simplicity). The talk called for a post-Transaction memory era where we should use techniques like “mini-transactions” that don’t over-promise to the programmers who are facing the difficult challenge of programming in a parallel environment.
Two other talks I enjoyed:
- “Partial Information Spreading with Application to Distributed Maximum Coverage” by Keren Hillel and Haden Shachnai. This talk introduced a nice generalization of the property of graph conductance and then showed how this generalization could be useful for approximating the maximum coverage problem in a distributed setting. I like the generalization of conductance, weak conductance, that was presented since I think many real-world networks may tend to have high weak conductance even though they have low conductance
- “Adaptive Randomized Mutual Exclusion in Sub-Logarithmic Time” by Danny Hendler and Phillip Woelfel. A very nice talk covering many mathematical details of what seems like a subtle proof of correctness for a randomized mutual exclusion algorithm. I know very little about mutual exclusion but felt the talk gave me a good flavor of the mathematical techniques used in the area.
Quick business meeting summary: brief announcements are good, they boost attendance; attendance is up at the least couple of PODCs; to rebuttal or not to rebuttal?; PODC 2011 will be in San Jose, CA; PODC 2012 will be in Madeira, Portugal, known for its bananas, sweet wine and warm waters.
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