Microsoft Research Papers

Microsoft Research Papers-80
It's only the ugly half-way compromises that have a problem.) Separate your driver program (which handles forking of new processes) from your data-crunching (which has the large anonymous shared mappings), and all is well.And do note that it's only the _anonymous shared_ mappings that are a problem; file-backed mappings don't require COW, and nor do private anonymous mappings.

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The communication between the two might be sockets, or shm, but it could be as simple as the cruncher receiving jobs on stdin and shipping notifications on stdout. Besides, I'm not arguing that fork() has to be the _only_ way to launch processes; it's entirely OK to _also_ have a spawn()-like interface for the 'simple case' where you don't want to juggle fds, ulimits, creds, etc., as long as fork() is still supported for the hard cases. This single process can be very large, tens of gigabytes in size.

Modern JVMs are quite efficient at managing large heaps, so this is desirable. If you use fork() exec then you're looking at duplicating the entire working set of the application server.

If you're interested in the future of mathematical publishing, you should read the article that Douglas Arnold and I wrote about the Elsevier boycott for the Notices of the American Mathematical Society.

My principal research projects are currently on sphere packing, energy minimization, and fast matrix multiplication.

Fun fact: you can share memory between distinct processes, by any of several means. Which is but one of the many reasons you shouldn't build a gigantic monolithic application server in the first place.

Also, I'm not suggesting spinning off a separate process to handle each request (the xinetd model); just splitting up the workload into separate processes doing different aspects of the job. The Unix system philosophy is like the Westminster system of government.

I've always been interested in understanding simple physical systems, ranging from the dimer model to hard spheres and soft-matter systems. disorder, for example in phase transitions or the study of defects in ground states. My preference is for a mixture of concrete and abstract mathematics.

I love concrete problems, especially those arising in science and technology, and I'm particularly happy when abstract mathematics turns out to be useful.

More broadly, my mathematical interests include discrete geometry, coding theory, cryptography, combinatorics, computational number theory, and theoretical computer science.

One conceptual issue that fascinates me is the role of symmetry in mathematics and physics, particularly for exceptional structures such as E (or more familiar but still remarkable relatives, such as the regular icosahedron).


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