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.
- December 2023 I will give a talk at SAPLING 2023 about the increasing overheads of garbage collectors, and how we can improve them via the distillation methodology, and performance tracing. You can watch the talk here.
- July 2023 Our paper on improving garbage collection observability with performance tracing is to appear at MPLR 2023.
- Jan 2023 I will be on the Artifact Evaluation Committee for PLDI 2023.
- Jan 2023 I will be Video Co-Chair for PLDI 2024.
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.
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