The Non-volatile Systems
Laboratory (NVSL) was founded in 2008 and focuses on developing hardware and software prototypes
to understand the hardware, software
, security, and reliability
implications of non-volatile, solid-state memories. These
memories are poised to fundamentally alter the role of
persistent state in computing systems:
- Their increased performance (between 1,000x and 1,000,000x
faster that disk) gives us the chance fundamentally rethink how operating systems manage and
use non-volatile state
- Their reduced power consumption relative to both disk and
DRAM mean they will play a key role in enabling "green" and "energy porportional" computing
- For embedded systems,
advanced non-volatile memories can fullfill the promise of a "universal
memory," playing the part of both DRAM and disk.
- Their enormous density (relative to DRAM) and speeed
(relative to disk) make them an essential component in emerging
At the same time, these technologies present difficulty (and exciting!)
- Many of the technologies (especially flash) have durability
limitations and require careful engineering to ensure system-level reliability.
- The complexity of flash-based, solid-state disks (e.g., in
cell phones and palm tops) raise security
concerns because "deleted" data can easily be retreived.
- Solid-state memories suffer from a range of failure modes
and require aggressive error
correction and detection mechanisms to ensure data integrity.
Our approach to all of these problems is to build hardware and software
systems ranging from embedded
arrays to flash-enabled
that allow us to characterize the
challenges and test solution on "real world" systems. We work
with researchers at the Center for
Magnetic Recording Research
, the San
Diego Super Computing Center
, and within the Computer Science and
to bring a wide range of expertise to
bear on each of these issues.