Programmable Systems Research Testbed to Explore a Stack-WIde Adaptive System fabriC


This project will build a testbed for experimenting with reconfigurable communication and Input/Output subsystems to conduct low-level systems research. This goal of this research is to remove network, memory and storage performance bottlenecks by dynamically reconfiguring them to the needs of an application. As the nature of computing applications change from compute-centric to data-centric, communication of data comprises a large part of program execution. In this testbed, the organization of memory, storage and their connectivity will change dynamically to adapt to the workload to improve overall performance of the executing programs.

The PIs will build a dynamically configurable cluster called MYSTIC to study system re-configurability across the entire computing stack, from the processor to memory, storage, and the network. It will allow low-level experimentation and reconfiguration at the level of networks-on-chip (NoC), universal memory, and the network interconnect with multidimensional network topologies. Dynamically reconfiguring interconnects, memory and storage will speed-up applications running on a heterogeneous computing environment. Examples of target applications include dynamic multipath routing for load-balancing, universal memory that deploys byte addressable Non-Volatile Dual In-line Memory Module (NVDIMM) for persistent storage and Network-on-Chip (NoC) abstractions for Operating Systems.

The Mystic testbed is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), CRI Program. For more details on this award, see the NSF description.






  • Ioan Raicu
    • Principle Investigator: explore practical aspects to realizing universal memory with byte-addressable non-volatile memory where applications compute directly on persistent memory
  • Kyle Hale
    • Co-Principle Investigator: build new OS abstractions on top of programmable NoCs to adapt the on-chip network to applications’ communication topologies and to enforce performance isolation and QoS between specialized OSes that space-share the chip
  • 205-889-5551
    • Co-Principle Investigator: develop an integrated data access system, Dynamic PortHadoop to support both parallel file systems for data-coherent and MapReduce/Spark systems
  • (336) 726-4042
    • Collaborator: provide resources and expertise needed to bring the MYSTIC testbed online, and to maintain it over the course of the testbed lifetime
  • Nikos Hardavellas
    • Collaborator: provide expertise in specialized operating systems (OS) and field programable gate arrays (FPGA)
  • awikiwiki
    • Collaborator: provide expertise in improving network performance through new dynamic routing algorithms, leveraging rich multi-path topologies of multi-dimensional networks
  • Alexandru Iulian Orhean
    • Lead System Administrator: provides day-to-day operational support, maintenance, and technical support
  • Alexander Ballmer
    • System Administrator: provides day-to-day operational support, maintenance, and technical support




For more information, please write


  • 10 West 31st Street, Chicago, IL 60616
  • 1-312-567-5704