Prof. David Finkel

Office: FL 231

Telephone: 831-5416


General Areas

I am primarily interested in computer performance evaluation, operating systems, distributed systems, and computer and communications networks. Project work could be directed toward evaluating the performance of existing computer systems, evaluating the performance of proposed computer systems, or developing reusable tools for performance measurement or evaluation.  A related area is performing measurement experiments to discover the structure of the Internet, specifically to study the patterns of routing in the Internet.

I am also interested in advising project in game development, in relation to the proposed new major in Interactive Media and Game Development.

Recent MQPs have involved the performance of Alpha Beowulf clusters, and Java-based distributed computing on the Web.

Specific Projects


Load Sharing in an Alpha Beowulf Cluster:

A Beowulf cluster is a group of PCs, running Linux or another freely-available Unix-style operating system, configured to perform large-scale parallel programs.  Thanks to industry donations from Compaq Computer, Inc., and Alpha Processor, Inc., we have Beowulf cluster based on the Alpha processor.  Over the past several years, a series of student projects has developed technology to allow processes to be automatically migrated from busy nodes to less busy nodes in the cluster.  Additional project work would extend and refine this system.

Game Development

A potential project area is distributed systems and game design.  The project could look at issues of distributed processing, such as load sharing, in the context of interactive games.  Another potential project is to design and develop an game development environment for use in lab courses in the new (proposed) Interactive Media and Game Development major.

Silicon Valley MQPs

I am the Director of the Silicon Valley Project Center.  Each C-Term, student groups perform projects in all areas of computer science at high-technology companies in California’s Silicon Valley.  The projects are preceded by a PQP during B-Term.  See the Silicon Valley Project Center Web page at for additional information.  Student apply for the Project Center in the B-Term of the academic year before the project.  Please contact me for further information.

IQP for Game Development Museum Exhibition

As part of a proposed new major in Interactive Media and Game Development, we are planning an exhibition at Gordon Library on the history of computer games.  This would be an extension of an exhibition recently held at Stanford University.  A student team would design and organize the exhibit at WPI.  Possible project activities include arranging the exhibit items for display, preparing a catalogue for the exhibit, providing explanatory text, and identifying items to display from local collections.  (Co-advised by Rodney Obien, Gordon Library)

Student-Proposed MQPs and IQPs

I would be happy to discuss students' ideas for other projects in the general areas described above.