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Building self-driving cars with Bazel

Bazel conference 2019   Video

A whirlwind tour of how Cruise takes advantage of Bazel for speedy builds of its large C++ and Python codebase. Also has the story of our initial migration, including exclusive footage of a server under my desk.

TBB Data Flow graphs in Robotics

Italian C++ Day 2019   Slides

Many C++ developers are familiar with the parallel algorithms and data structures from the Intel TBB library. TBB also has a Data Flow graph library that is less well known but equally interesting. Dataflow programs are described as a computational graph, a series of nodes that share data through messages flowing through graph edges. The TBB runtime takes care of scheduling and running computations with maximum concurrency while respecting the dependency information expressed in the graph. This declarative approach to task orchestration is especially suitable for pipeline of CPU-heavy tasks, like Computer Vision and Robotics. The talk will include an example from these domains, complete with a performance evaluation and a comparison with more manual implementations.

Concurrency in ROS 1 and 2: from AsyncSpinner to MultithreadedExecutor

ROS Conference 2019   Video   Slides

Unexpected latency is a common problem in ROS-based stacks. This talk discusses how the ROS runtime maps ROS primitives like publish/subscribe into OS threads for concurrent execution, and what ROS APIs we can use to control this process. The second part of the talk covers how the Linux scheduler allocates these threads for execution on typical CPUs, and which knobs can be used to optimize this process for robotics applications.

Optimizing after the optimizer: Link Time and Profile Guided Optimization

Italian C++ Conference 2019   Video and slides

Link Time Optimization (LTO) and Profile Guided Optimization (PGO) are two complementary techniques for improving the performance of C++ code beyond what’s normally achieved by optimizing compilers. In most projects, optimization and inlining opportunities are limited because C++ inherits the concept of independent translation units from C. LTO sidesteps this issue by deferring emission of the final binary code to the linker. After turning on LTO, Firefox saw 5% and up improvements in some benchmarks. PGO uses profiling data collected at runtime to optimize decisions made by the compiler, like branch predictions and code placement. This talk will explore LTO and PGO as implemented by clang. We’ll show how to enable these features in an example project, and dissect the generated code to understand how they work.


Lessons learned building a self-driving car on ROS

ROS Conference 2018   Video   Slides

Cruise Automation’s self driving car runs on top on ROS. This talk will share some of the lessons we learned while scaling up the ROS stack to a very complex Robotics problem and 500+ engineers. We will talk about performance, reliability, code organization and health, and the ways we have found ROS to excel or fall short.

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