About Me
My Beautiful Mug

Research Focus

I am a PhD student studying operating systems for warehouse-scale computers. This effort is part of the FireBox Project.

Before Berkeley

For the two years before coming to Berkeley I worked at Oracle Labs. There I worked on a hardware/software co-design project focusing on analytic databases. Before that I was at UC Santa Cruz where I received my bachelor's degree in computer engineering with a focus on computer systems. I grew up in a small town near San Luis Obispo called Los Osos (about 4 hours south of Berkeley on the coast).



The FireBox project aims to develop a system architecture for third-generation Warehouse-Scale Computers (WSCs). Firebox scales up to a ~1 MegaWatt WSC containing up to 10,000 compute nodes and up to an Exabyte (2^60 Bytes) of non-volatile memory connected via a low-latency, high-bandwidth optical switch. The FireBox project will produce custom datacenter SoCs, distributed simulation tools for warehouse-scale machines, and systems software for FireBox-style disaggregated datacenters.

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Other Interests

In addition to my immediate research focus, there are a number of other technical topics which interest me.


I've been interested in Genomics for a long time. Whenever I've had the opportunity, I've taken classes in biology and genomics. I think the potential for medical and other advances based on genomics are significant and tractable. From a computer science perspective, genomics presents a classical big-data problem, where relatively simple statistical analysis can produce impressive results. In the field of cancer, for instance, matching of genetic patterns between many patients can help identify the most effective treatments.


Neuroscience interests me for a number of reasons. For one, it's impressive how little we understand the brain, despite how central it is to everything we do. With advances in neuroscience we can understand the source of intelligence and conciousness, and perhaps even replicate them. I'm also interested in the promise neuroscience holds for improving human abilities. While genomics may cure diseases and allow us to reach our natural potential, neuroscience may allow us to move beyond our natural limitations. If we can undestand the mechanism of intelligence, then we can make ourselves more intelligent. Brain-computer interfaces will allow us to interact with physically superior machanisms like exo-suits or even remotely operated vehicles seamlessly. While I lack the electrical engineering and chemistry chops for the current state of the field, I hope that advances in computing can allow for significant improvements in our understanding.

Contact Me

Nathan Pemberton

nathanp AT berkeley DOT edu

Desk: 585-3 Soda Hall (ASPIRE Lab)