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Performance Modeling and Design of Computer Systems: Queueing Theory in Action Hardcover – February 18, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1107027503 ISBN-10: 1107027500 Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 569 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (February 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1107027500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1107027503
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 7.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #503,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Tackling the questions that systems designers care about, this book brings queueing theory decisively back to computer science. The book is written with computer scientists and engineers in mind and is full of examples from computer systems, as well as manufacturing and operations research. Fun and readable, the book is highly approachable, even for undergraduates, while still being thoroughly rigorous and also covering a much wider span of topics than many queueing books. Readers benefit from a lively mix of motivation and intuition, with illustrations, examples, and more than 300 exercises - all while acquiring the skills needed to model, analyze, and design large-scale systems with good performance and low cost. The exercises are an important feature, teaching research-level counterintuitive lessons in the design of computer systems. The goal is to train readers not only to customize existing analyses but also to invent their own.

About the Author

Mor Harchol-Balter is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a recipient of the McCandless Chair, the NSF CAREER award, the NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Mathematical Sciences, multiple best paper awards and several teaching awards, including the Herbert A. Simon Award for Teaching Excellence and the campus-wide Teaching Effectiveness Award. She is a leader in the ACM SIGMETRICS/Performance community, for which she recently served as Technical Program Chair, and has served on the Technical Program Committee twelve times. Harchol-Balter's work integrates queueing theoretic analysis with low-level computer systems implementation. Her research is on designing new resource allocation policies (load balancing policies, power management policies and scheduling policies) for server farms and distributed systems in general, where she emphasizes integrating measured workload distributions into the problem solution.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a great book to read cover-to-cover.
John Turner
Simply put, this is one of the best introductory undergraduate/graduate level textbooks on performance evaluation ever written.
Ranjan Pal
The materials are well explained and very clear.
Prof WuZhai

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John Turner on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I took Prof. Mor Harchol-Balter's Performance Modeling course as a Ph.D. student at Carnegie Mellon, and enjoyed it thoroughly. For those of you not fortunate enough to have been in Mor's class, you can now take advantage of her imparted knowledge in book form. What you will find are a series of short 10-page chapters, each focused around a particular topic or example. Mor's Socratic teaching style is evident in the book: There are many questions posed to the reader throughout the chapter to check your intuition, with well-presented answers and easy-to-follow derivations. This is a great book to read cover-to-cover. As Prof. Harchol-Balter describes in the foreword, this book is "Fun and readable, [... and] highly approachable, even for undergraduates, while still being thoroughly rigorous and also covering a much wider span of topics than many queueing books." I couldn't agree more.
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12 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Garrett Hughes on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Having been involved in modeling and simulating complex hardware/software systems for twenty years or more, I thought it appropriate to comment on some of the author's remarks regarding the state of the art. I would like to add that had not Amazon, in all their marketing wisdom, chosen to send me an unsolicited ad describing Harchol-Balter's text, you probably wouldn't be reading this. But like Pandora, I couldn't resist a "Look Inside!"

In her opening remarks, Ms. Harchol-Balter states "Unfortunately, of the hundreds of books written on stochastic processes, almost none deal with computer systems." If you remove the term "unfortunately" from that statement, you could characterize it as having a basis in fact: given that the world is filled with stochastic processes (In fact, I tend to treat all real-world processes as stochastic). Seen in this light, the implied dearth of computer related texts can be attributed to proportion. Ms. Harchol-Balter goes on to say that those few remaining texts that do deal with the subject at hand "are not 'friendly' to computer scientists."

Ms. Harchol-Balter's statements pose a couple of problems that beg for resolution. First, why the dearth of books that approach computer performance from the standpoint of queueing theory? She reports that her own colleague gave an answer in a very Candide fashion: "The world doesn't look like an M/M/1 queue" - possibly the best of all possible answers. Trying to solve an N-body computer system analytically is equivalent to trying to solve the canonical N-body physics problem - it can't be done. One must resort to numerical methods in the N-body case, and in the case of computer systems, use stochastic discrete event modeling and simulation.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Computer Science Graduate Student on June 12, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Unlike many of the other reviewers of this book, I am not a seasoned queueing professional, professor, or a student of Mor's. I used this book for a course last semester (Spring 2014). It was my first year in the PhD program. I came from a liberal arts school where I double majored in CS and Math (unfortunately a bit lacking). Just so you get a sense for my background.

Make no mistake: this is an excellent book. On many topics, the book is an abundantly clear source. The problems are challenging, and most of them fair. We made it through the first 23 chapters in our opening semester -- and could have gotten through a few more, had we started out the semester properly. The other reviews cover the great aspects of the book, so I won't say more on this. It really is a great book though.

So why four stars then? I have some reservations about the book. First is the initial organization of the book. The overall organization is just fine. But the Introduction to Queueing section (Chapters 1 and 2) feels sorely misplaced. The book should start with the Necessary Probability Background section, then the Introduction to Queueing, and then the actual queueing chapters. Why? Because Chapter 2 provides good intuition for the rest of the book, and by the time you've made it through the probability review, it is not on the forefront of your mind. Similarly, in some of the problems, you'll need "Slowdown", which is only briefly defined in Chapter 2 and not again until Chapter 28. To any future users of the book, I would recommend re-reading Chapter 2 as you continue past the probability review. Maybe a couple of times. It's an important one for mastering the concepts.

Second, the book makes many assumptions about the mathematical background of the audience.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Prof WuZhai on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is such a refreshing book on performance modeling. Dr Harchol-Balter presents the material in a Q&A format. In fact, the book places the reader in an interactive lecture. The materials are well explained and very clear. The emphasis on intuition first, with plenty of examples and analogies, is simply superb. The author's practical experience with different concepts in real systems shows throughout the book.
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