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SPEC forms group to spark research on new benchmarking methodologies and tools

WARRENTON, Va., March 15, 2011 - The non-profit Standard Performance Evaluation Corp. (SPEC) has formed a group to spark research on new benchmarking methodologies and tools.

The SPEC Research Group is designed to encourage exchange among representatives from industry, academia and research institutes. Planned research efforts include techniques and tools for performance measurement, load testing, profiling, workload characterization, dependability and efficiency evaluation of computing systems.

A major component of the newly formed SPEC Research Group will be working groups that develop standard scenarios and workloads called research benchmarks for emerging technologies and applications. Benchmarks from the research group will be used primarily for in-depth analysis and evaluation of early prototypes and research results. This differentiates them from conventional benchmarks used for direct comparison and marketing of existing products.

The first of the research working groups will address cloud computing and peer-to-peer systems. Researchers are encouraged to bring existing work under the SPEC Research Group umbrella and to start new working groups.

Extending the state of the art

Besides developing research benchmarks, other projected activities of the SPEC Research Group include publishing a newsletter and journal, establishing a portal for benchmarking-related resources, recognizing outstanding contributions to benchmarking research, and organizing conferences and workshops.

"We see this as an incubator for exciting new research and a forum for exchanging ideas, methodologies and new developments in benchmarking," says Samuel Kounev, chair of the new group. "It's another way for SPEC to contribute to the computing community and extend the state of the art in performance evaluation."

Far-reaching membership

Membership in the newly formed SPEC Research Group is $100 for organizations that are not members of SPEC and free to current SPEC members.

Members of the SPEC Research Group include AMD; Charles University; Cisco; Ghent University; HP; IBM; Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay; Intel; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology; NICTA; Northeastern University (Boston, MA); Oracle; Purdue University; Red Hat; RWTH Aachen; SAP; Technische Universität Darmstadt; University of Alberta; University of Coimbra; University of Kiel; University of Mannheim; University of Pavia; University of Texas at Austin; VMware; Yahoo!; and Zhejiang University.

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SPEC ( is a non-profit organization that establishes, maintains, and endorses standardized benchmarks to evaluate performance for the newest generation of computing systems. Its membership comprises more than 80 leading computer hardware and software vendors, educational institutions, research organizations, and government agencies worldwide.

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