Zixian Cai's portrait

I am a PhD student of computer science at The Australian National University. I am advised by Steve Blackburn, Mike Bond, and Martin Maas. I work in programming languages, computer architecture, and performance analysis/optimization.

I received my bachelor’s degree from The Australian National University, where I was advised by Steve Blackburn and Mike Bond.



I design novel hardware architectures to build more efficient abstractions in programming languages, while maintaining a productive and safe interface for programmers. I also write and optimize high-performance systems software, such as garbage collectors, virtual machines, and distributed ML training libraries, supported by the performance analysis tools and methodology I develop. You can learn more about my research here.

Selected Publications

My publications are listed on dblp, Google Scholar, ACM DL, and IEEE Xplore. Preprints can be found on arXiv. You can also see my CV for the full list of publications.

Improving Garbage Collection Observability with Performance Tracing. Claire Huang, Stephen M. Blackburn, Zixian Cai. International Conference on Managed Programming Languages & Runtimes (MPLR), 2023. pdf doi code

Distilling the Real Cost of Production Garbage Collectors. Zixian Cai, Stephen M. Blackburn, Michael D. Bond, Martin Maas. International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software (ISPASS), 2022. pdf doi code video

Understanding and Utilizing Hardware Transactional Memory Capacity. Zixian Cai, Stephen M. Blackburn, Michael D. Bond. International Symposium on Memory Management (ISMM), 2021. pdf doi code video

Synthesizing Optimal Collective Algorithms. Zixian Cai, Zhengyang Liu, Saeed Maleki, Madan Musuvathi, Todd Mytkowicz, Jacob Nelson, Olli Saarikivi. Principles and Practice of Parallel Programming (PPoPP), 2021. Best Paper Award. pdf doi code (SCCL) code (MSCCL) video