Alex Breslow

Alex Breslow

Computer Science PhD Student
Advisor: Dean Tullsen
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA
Curriculum Vitæ (CV) | Running
Education and Research Page

Recent News

I am quite happy to be spending part of this summer and fall working with Konstantinos Karanasos, Sriram Rao, and others in the Cloud and Information Services Lab at Microsoft Research Silicon Valley on resource management for current and next generation distributed computing platforms.

I am in the process of updating my website and CV. Hopefully, this will be done by the time I leave Microsoft (October 3, 2014).

I received my Master of Science in Computer Science (March 2014).

I am particularly interested in research internships. I enjoy traveling, so I encourage you to contact me even if you are situated outside the United States. If language skills beyond English are required, I speak good Spanish and decent French.

My paper entitled Enabling Fair Pricing on HPC Systems with Node Sharing was accepted by The International Conference for High Performance Computing, Networking, Storage, and Analysis (SC'13) and was a finalist for the Best Paper Award and the Best Student Paper Award. Ananta Tiwari, Martin Schulz, Laura Carrington, Lingjia Tang, and Jason Mars are coauthors. This paper has been reprinted in the journal Scientific Programming.

My SC13 paper was highlighted on! link


For my citation counts, metrics and those of my co-authors, check out my Google Scholar profile.

Alex D. Breslow, Ananta Tiwari, Martin Schulz, Laura Carrington, Lingjia Tang, and Jason Mars. Enabling Fair Pricing on HPC Systems with Node Sharing. To appear in the Proceedings of SC'13. Best Paper Finalist and Best Student Paper Finalist


Hailong Yang, Alex Breslow, Jason Mars, and Lingjia Tang. Bubble-Flux: Precise Online QoS Management for Increased Utilization in Warehouse Scale Computers. In the Proceedings of ISCA'13. [pdf|bib]

Alex D. Breslow, Leo Porter, Ananta Tiwari, Michael A. Laurenzano, Laura Carrington, Dean M. Tullsen, and Allan E. Snavely. The Case for Colocation of HPC Workloads. Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience; Special issue on the Analysis of Performance and Power for Highly Parallel Systems (CCPE 2013). [pdf]|[bib]

Andrew Danner, Jake Baskin, Alexander Breslow, and David Wilikofsky. Hybrid MPI/GPU Interpolation for Grid DEM Construction. In Proc. ACM Symposium on Advances in Geographic Information Systems, pages 299-308, 2012. [pdf|bib]

Research Statement

NOTE: I am in the process of updating this statement as well as the rest of my website and CV.

I am deeply interested in the area of computer systems, as these systems pose many challenges and because their efficient operation is imperative for a productive society. As more and more computation moves to centralized data centers, the efficiency and throughput of these systems will determine fundamentally what is computable, and thus what we as a society can achieve.

My recent research has attacked the large scale system research question from a High Performance Computing (HPC) perspective. However, I am widening my research scope to address challenges found in the commercial data center realm. My goal is to develop algorithmic and software mechanisms that are general enough to span both scientific supercomputers and enterprise data centers.

In addition to these current endeavors, I am interested in areas relating to hardware-software codesign and the art of elegant parallel programming, as advances in these fields are now the principal mechanism by which we can continue to get significant increases in performance every 18 or so months with Moore's Law. Besides these aspects of the parallel programming challenge, I continue to be fascinated by the design of novel parallel algorithms that allow us to crunch through big data by harnessing the computing power of distributed computing environments.

I currently work with the folks at the Performance Modeling and Characterization Lab at SDSC, and as of January 2013 have begun joint work with Martin Schulz at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory on projects related to exascale computing. The exceptional Allan Snavely was my first PhD advisor at UCSD; however, on July 14, 2012, he tragically passed away from a heart attack shortly after cycling up Mount Diablo in Northern California. I will always remember his kindly nature and be ever grateful for his unrelenting support of my growth as a researcher.

My work with Allan Snavely identified that there is a substantial performance and energy efficiency benefit to co-locating distributed HPC applications from different users across a set of shared servers. The first paper in this line of work appeared in Concurrency and Computation: Practice and Experience. I am currently extending this work by tackling the two main challenges involved in realizing co-location on supercomputers and networked systems in general: 1) enabling fair pricing, i.e. discount a user when neighboring jobs negatively impact his or her job's run time and 2) deciding both how and which applications should share machines and other cluster resources. To address the fair pricing challenge, I have developed a light-weight runtime system that can detect co-runner interference online and with high precision, thereby enabling fair billing of each user. The first part of this work was recently accepted to SC'13 and was nominated for both the Best Paper and Best Student Paper awards. The work on pricing is a collaboration with Jason Mars and Lingjia Tang who are now faculty at University of Michigan and with whom I had the excellent privilege of working during their time at UCSD.

Side Interests

Aside from research, I am an avid runner and athlete. I also enjoy playing tennis, rock climbing and practicing yoga. Outside of fitness, I speak Spanish and French with relative fluency and enjoy employing these language skills when traveling in Europe and Latin America.


I would like to thank Tia Newhall and Andrew Danner of Swarthmore College for piquing my interest in parallel and distributed computing and for providing me the opportunity to intensely explore this beautiful topic via hands-on course projects and summer research.

I thank Professor Doug Turnbull, now at Ithaca College, for his encouragement and mentoring both during and after my data structures and algorithms course at Swarthmore.

At UCSD, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the guidance of the following individuals: Allan Snavely, Ananta Tiwari, Dean Tullsen, Jason Mars, Laura Carrington, Lingjia Tang, Scott Baden, Leo Porter and Michael Laurenzano. Each has contributed to my growth as a researcher.

I would also like to thank all those who have advocated on my behalf throughout the years. Without their help, I would surely not be where I am today.

This page layout has been graciously provided by Professor Andrew Danner at Swarthmore College.