Prof. Dr. Tilmann Rabl

Hardware-Conscious Data Processing


Prof. Dr. Tilmann Rabl, Lawrence Benson


Hardware development continuously advances, with different technologies improving at different pace. While the amount of transistors in a CPU package are growing, the single core performance is stagnating due to physical limitations. These trends require changes in data processing to keep database management systems efficient. In this lecture, we will take a look at current computer architectures and accelerator technologies and how they can be used for efficient data processing. We will cover CPU and memory architecture; the storage hierarchy; modern memory technolgoies, such as NVM and NVMe; fast interconnects, such as Infiniband, RDMA, and NVLink; and accelerators, such as GPUs and FPGAs. The course has a significant practical part, where the students learn to implement data structures and algorithms tailored to hardware concious data processing.


  • Structured Computer Organization, Andrew S. Tanenbaum, Todd Austin, 2012, 978-0132916523
  • A Course in In-Memory Data Management: The Inner Mechanics of In-Memory Databases, Hasso Plattner, 2014, 978-3642552694


  • Course management will be done using the HPI Moodle
  • The lectures will be held on-site at HPI
  • Non-HPI participants : please send us an email to get access to the Moodle
  • All lectures are recorded and available in Tele-Task

Schedule (tentative) 

The lectures will be held on Tuesdays (L.E-03) and Thursdays (L.E-03) at 11:00 o'clock.



The programming tasks determine 100% of the grade, there is no final exam. In addition to the graded tasks, each student will present their solution for one task in a short individual meeting with the teaching team. We will randomly select students for each current task throughout the semester. This discussion will make up 20% of the final grade. The programming tasks will be 20% each.


This course is aimed towards students with knowledge in database and/or big data systems. Ideally, students have attended at least one of Big Data Systems, Distributed Data Management, Database Systems II, or similar. The programming tasks are all in C++, so students should be proficient in it. We provide a small example task (see Example Coding Task in Moodle) which students can do before the course to see whether they are comfortable with C++. If you are not able to solve this task, you will probably have a very hard time in the course, as this is the very minimum level needed to complete the other tasks.