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[edit] Athena Under the Hood

Date: October 7, 2008, at 4:30 PM
Presenters: Marc Horowitz (marc)
Location: 4-231
Notes: How Athena Works (slides)
Abstract: Athena is a ubiquitous part of the computing infrastructure at MIT, often taken for granted. Its history goes back more than twenty years, encompassing the invention of a number of technologies which are widespread today. However, its development marked a time of rapid change in distributed computing. In some ways, Athena is still well ahead of a typical distributed computing environment.

I will discuss the history of Athena, its notable inventions, and give an overview of each of the network and workstation services which make up Athena today, including Kerberos, AFS, Moira, Hesiod, and the installation and update processes.

Bio: Marc Horowitz arrived at MIT in 1988, when Athena was still a funded research project. As a Watchmaker (student developer) at Project Athena, he worked on the Kerberos, Zephyr, and Moira projects. Marc was also vice-chairman of the Student Information Processing Board in 1991, and Secretary in 1992. From 1992 to 2000, Marc continued to maintain an informal relationship with Athena, working on commercial versions of technologies born there, especially Kerberos, and participating in follow-on open source development and IETF standards activities. Today, he is Vice President of Engineering at Square Products Corporation, a startup focusing on software for social music listening.

[edit] Understanding Git

Date: October 21, 2008, at 4:30 PM
Presenters: Nelson Elhage (nelhage) and Anders Kaseorg (andersk)
Location: 4-231
Notes: Understanding Git (slides) (source for slides)
Abstract: Git is a free software distributed version control system originally written by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development. It is increasingly commonly used, and learning to use it can be greatly benefited by a little help from those who understand how to use it. This talk will provide a brief tutorial on how to use Git and a technical overview how it works under the covers.

[edit] Technical overview of scripts.mit.edu

Date: October 28, 2008, at 4:30 PM
Presenters: Geoffrey Thomas (geofft), Quentin Smith (quentin)
Location: 4-231
Notes: Technical overview of scripts.mit.edu (slides)
Abstract: The scripts.mit.edu web script service allows individuals and groups to put CGI scripts (perl, php, python, ruby, scheme, etc) on the web using nothing more than an Athena account. Integrating this functionality with Athena presented certain challenges that had to be overcome before the service could be launched.

In this talk, the SIPB script services' maintainers will describe the design and implementation of the services. This talk is intended to be a technical overview of the internals of the services rather than a gentle introduction to the services (for documentation intended for potential new users, see http://scripts.mit.edu).

Technical documentation about scripts is available at http://scripts.mit.edu/wiki, and the code is available via svn co https://scripts.mit.edu:1111. Our code is released under the GPL.

[edit] Audio and video compression

Date: November 6, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Keith Winstein (keithw)
Location: 4-231
Notes: Slides
Abstract: Data compression, and audio/video coding. Some intro to information theory, codes, and compression. Then we'll talk about how MP3 and AC3 work, and how MPEG-2, DVDs, Blu-rays, and HDTV work -- including colorspaces, chroma subsampling, Huffman codes, the discrete cosing transform, and the amazing data-saving technique of blurring. I'll do some demos.

Here is the source code to the audio-masking and MPlayer demos.

[edit] General structure of the Linux kernel

Date: November 11, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Geoffrey Thomas (geofft)
Location: 4-231
Abstract: The Linux kernel is the core of a large and complex operating system, and while it's huge, it is well organized in terms of subsystems and layers. In this talk, we will explore the general structure of the Linux kernel and get to know its major subsystems and core interfaces.

[edit] Ksplice

Date: November 18, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Jeff Arnold (jbarnold), Tim Abbott (tabbott), and Anders Kaseorg (andersk)
Location: 4-231
Notes: Ksplice technical paper
Abstract: Ksplice is a new (open source) tool for applying traditional source code patches to the Linux kernel without rebooting. You can use it to keep your server or workstation up-to-date with security patches. This talk will explain how Ksplice works.

[edit] Pyrex

Date: November 25, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Evan Broder (broder)
Location: 4-231
Abstract: Pyrex is a programming language developed to aid in creating Python modules. Python provides a C API to write extension modules, which allows writing of functions and datatypes in C. These can then be accessed from Python. It is thus also possible to wrap the functions and datatypes of existing C libraries as Python objects and therefore make them available to Python.

This talk will provide a tutorial introduction to Pyrex and its usage.

All materials from the cluedump are available at http://web.mit.edu/broder/Public/Pyrex

For more information on Pyrex and Cython, see http://www.cosc.canterbury.ac.nz/greg.ewing/python/Pyrex/ and http://cython.org/

[edit] Kerberos and Related Technologies

Date: December 2, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Tom Yu (tlyu)
Location: 4-231
Notes: slides
Abstract: Developers from MIT's Kerberos group will give an overview of Kerberos, SASL, GSS-API and related technologies. The talk will focus on what these technologies can do for users and application developers. The talk also describes how Kerberos works over the network enough to explain what its advantages and drawbacks are.
Bio: Tom Yu is the Development Manager for the MIT Kerberos Consortium. He has a degree in Course XVI (aero/astro), but for some reason persists in working on network security protocols and software. He is an associate member of SIPB and has been working on the MIT implementation of Kerberos since 1993. He is a co-chair of the IETF SASL Working Group and has contributed to the evolution of the Kerberos protocol and the GSS-API within the IETF. In the past, he has also taught SIPB IAP classes about understanding software security vulnerabilities and programming in the PostScript typesetting language.

[edit] Invirt

Date: December 9, 2008, at 3:30 PM
Presenters: Greg Price (price) and Evan Broder (broder)
Location: 4-231
Notes: slides, website, XVM service
Abstract: Invirt is the software developed at SIPB to power our XVM virtualization service for the MIT community. In this talk, two Invirt developers explain some of the crazy (awesome?) techniques used inside Invirt to implement its most interesting features.
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