Compiler Technology and Computer Architecture (CTCA)

Overview

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The Compiler Technology and Computer Architecture group was founded by Prof Alex Shafarenko in 2004 with a broad agenda that included research into data-parallel and functional programming languages and systems, and also architecture topics, such as prediction and classification methods in processor design.

Over the years, the focus has shifted more towards high-performance, and, more recently, embedded computing, mainly in regard of programming languages and their implementation. There is also some nascent research into computer architecture now as well.

The major focus of the group is coordination programming. CTCA is the principal source of the programming language S-Net and its implementation. The language S-Net enables an applications programmer to "script" parallel execution of conventional components written in any programming language with only minor modifications. S-Net offers a novel approach to the tasks of communication, synchronisation and concurrency management, which makes it possible to separate the functional and efficiency concerns and to fully engage non-specialist applications programmers in a design of a high-performance, distributed application.

CTCA has also led the development of the array programming language SAC in the years 2005-2011 and it is here that the language went through its major revision and where its implementation acquired the ability to efficiently target GPUs.

The group has successfully completed a number of EU-funded projects and is coordinating European activities in its subject area. Additionally CTCA is the first group at the University of Hertfordshire to successfully bid for JU Artemis funding, which is a business facing, EU supported, research funding scheme for engaging with industry in the area of embedded systems.

Our doctoral students leave to join high calibre industrial players in the field of computing technologies. For example, in the last two years many of our PhD students joined Intel Corp research and development establishments. One of our post doctoral fellows continues his career at Oxford. Our partners in research include major European industry, for example Thales, France; SAP, Germany; and Philips Healthcare, NL. We have working relationships with many universities in Europe and further afield, most notably the Universities of St. Andrews, Amsterdam and California (Irvine), as well as a collaboration with the Lawrence Livermore National Lab. We publish our results in leading conferences and journals and regularly deliver invited talks to prestigious international conferences.