Prophesy: An Infrastructure for Analyzing and Modeling the Performance of Parallel and Distributed Applications

EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

pic of Valerie Taylor

Professor Valerie Taylor
ECE Department, Northwestern University

Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.


Efficient execution of applications requires insights into how system features impact the performance of the application. The availability of national, high-speed networks has made available distributed systems for execution of large-scale applications. Distributed systems, however, consists of heterogeneous components, such as networks, processors, run-time systems, operating systems, etc. This heterogeneity complicates the task of gaining insights into the performance of the application.

This talk presents the Prophesy Project, an infrastructure that aids in gaining this needed insight based upon one's experience and that of others. Prophesy consists of three major components: a relational database that allows for the recording of performance data, system features and application details; an application analysis component that automatically instruments applications and generates control flow information; and a data analysis component that facilitates the development of performance models, predictions and trends. As a result, the Prophesy system can be used to develop models based upon significant data, identify the most efficient implementation of a given function based upon the given system configuration, explore the various trends implicated by the significant data, and predict the performance on a different system.


Valerie E. Taylor received her B.S. in Computer and Electrical Engineering and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University in 1985 and 1986, respectively. She received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from University of California at Berkeley in 1991.

Valerie E. Taylor is an Associate Professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Northwestern University and holds a guest appointment with the Mathematics and Computer Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory. She has been at Northwestern since 1991. Her research interests are in the areas of computer architecture and high performance computing, with particular emphasis on mesh partitioning for distributed systems and the performance of parallel and distributed applications.

In 1993, Valerie Taylor received a National Science Foundation "National Young Investigator" award. She holds a U.S. patent for her dissertation work on sparse matrices. She also has a copyright for the RAB tool developed at Purdue University. She is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery, Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers. She is a member of the SC Steering Committee and Co-Chair of the Coalition to Diversify Computing.