Information technology has undergone a major paradigm shift with sensors, embedded and mobile devices generating massive amounts of data to be augmented with backend cloud services for enhanced experience. Data has emerged as a currency for modern society. Datacenters are now the backbone of IT offering large-scale cloud services at low costs benefiting from and exploiting the economies of scale. With silicon efficiency scaling having dwindled since 2004 and silicon density scaling slowing down, future digital platforms will rely on heterogeneous logic and memory to allow for IT scalability. Meanwhile, the demand for large-scale cloud services has grown dramatically faster than conventional silicon scaling making IT platform scalability a grand challenge. Future platforms will need hand-in-hand collaboration of application domain experts and platform designers to improve scalability. With many online services being in-memory and the minimum communication latency between the farthest nodes in a 20MW datacenter being microseconds, future server platforms will go through revolutionary changes in architecture to enable seamless aggregation of logic and memory resources across nodes, breaking the conventional system abstraction layers.
PARSA at EPFL engages in research and educational activities to pioneer future server design.