Electrical Engineering Seminars

Coding-theoretic approaches for resilient, secure distributed computing and learning

Viveck R. Cadambe, Associate Professor, Pennsylvania State University

Dec 10, 2021

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This talk present ideas in "coded computing”, an emerging sub-area of coding theory that injects data redundancy with the goal of protecting the output of a distributed function computations from errors and failures. Coded computing techniques can mitigate straggler bottlenecks in distributed computing, enable secure computation over untrusted devices, and ensure data privacy by adapting and generalizing secret sharing techniques. 


We briefly survey coding techniques for certain ubiquitous linear algebraic operations starting the 1980s, and describe recent polynomial-evaluation-based solutions that yield significant improvements in the trade-off between fault-tolerance and redundancy.  We study the effect of finite precision on numerical stability of our codes, and present new code constructions based on Chebyshev-Vandermonde systems and condition number bounds. Our study leads to a surprising threshold phenomenon on the trade-off between approximation error, finite precision and fault-tolerance. Finally, we outline methods to apply the developed codes to a wide class of computations beyond linear computations, and describe some interesting open directions. Experimental results in the contexts of resilient distributed training and inference in machine learning will be presented to demonstrate the promise of the ideas in practice.

Speaker Bio

Viveck R. Cadambe is an Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. from University of California Irvine in 2011, and has done postdoctoral stints at Boston University and MIT. His research interests are in information and coding theory, and he studies applications to distributed computing and machine learning, cloud computing services, and wireless networks. He has received the 2009 Information Theory Society Best Paper Award, the 2014 IEEE Network Computing and Applications Best Paper Award, an NSF CRII Award in 2015, an NSF Career Award in 2016 and a Google Faculty Award in 2019. He has served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, an issue of the IEEE Journal on Special Areas in Information Theory, and currently is an Associate Editor for the IEEE Transactions on Communications.


Flavio Calmon


Shalom Okafor