Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation
An inside perSPECtive
More than a dozen people from different eras were interviewed for the 30th anniversary content on this website. Beyond their specific experiences, many of them had something to say about what makes SPEC a unique organization. Here is a selection of those comments.
What I value about SPEC is the organization's focus on the attributes which led to a better benchmark rather than producing yet another marketing demo. The history of this organization rising out of frustration with unverifiable marketing claims has lead to a development culture that to a surprising degree values sound engineering ahead of marketing targets, and I believe this culture enables us to implement challenging tests beyond the reach of many other groups.
-- Alexander Carlton, SPEC web editor and participant since 1990
If there is one person to be recognized for their contribution to SPEC, it is Kaivalya Dixit. He is Mr. SPEC. He took SPEC from a strictly CPU-oriented performance organization to a professional performance engineering standards organization. A fine leader of SPEC who gave me the opportunity to contribute to benchmark development. He brought his distinguished successor Walter Bays to the fore, completing his able stewardship.
It is great to see when colleagues from industry and academia with completely different backgrounds can work together in a team bringing in complementary expertise and different perspectives.
-- Samuel Kounev, SPEC/RG chair
It's the membership that makes SPEC special: The people who contribute their time and efforts to work on developing the benchmarks, running them, and contributing to the public database of results are really the heart of SPEC.
-- Cathy Sandifer, SPEC IT support and webmaster since 2002.
In so many multi-vendor organizations, the best strategy ends up being blocking what your competitors are trying to do. In SPEC, the best strategy is always cooperating to get something done.
I'm very grateful I've had the honor to serve as SPECpower chair for the last decade. Besides driving server efficiency worldwide, it has enabled my personal effectiveness to grow quite a bit. You have to learn to lead a diverse team with people from different companies and universities, a multitude of cultural backgrounds, and a variety of geographical areas who speak several languages. I've learned a great deal from leading those experts and have benefited from their knowledge and experience in many diverse areas.
-- Klaus-Dieter Lange, SPECpower committee chair
When thinking of SPEC, long-time SPEC/GWPG rep and former SPECapc chair Allen Jensen thought of letters to home from a Ken Burns war documentary:
Dearest Melinda. The coffee ran out today; all that is left is decaf. I'm not sure how much longer we can continue.
Dearest Melinda. Another long cold night, we only have the heat of our workstations. Thinking of our soft beds at home. This damn benchmark may never ship.
Dearest Melinda. Another mention of geomean today. There wasn't bloodshed yet but the meeting ended in silence.
SPEC is the epitome of the roundtable where all the valiant knights of the computer tech industry congregate in cooperation, where each member who sits there has equal status, where concepts like consensus and transparency rule, where the standards for computer performance metrics and benchmarks are equitably hammered out and forged. I have always believed in and felt kinship to such an idea, and to this day, SPEC lives up to it!
-- Jason Glick, SPEC IT engineering and support manager since 1998.
What's not talked about much is the extensive use of SPEC benchmarks for performance evaluation in published research. At every leading supercomputing conference, a large portion of the research work that is presented uses benchmark suites produced by SPEC.
-- J. Nelson Amaral, SPEC Board member and major advocate for the SPEC Research Group
Cooperation and competition have to work together in the scientific world. SPEC is an organization that helps reconcile these seemingly opposing demands. Getting people in the same room and talking with each other has a nice effect. Even if the people involved are competitors they can have a common goal and be friends too.
-- Rudi Eigenmann, former SPEC/HPG chair and long-time SPEC contributor
A large value of SPEC vs. benchmarks developed by individuals or a single company is the fact that we have published results that are curated by SPEC and freely available on the website. The ability to compare published results that are standardized is really unique.
-- Robert Henschel, SPEC/HPG chair
As a non-profit organization, SPEC is continually seeking ways to better serve the computing community. This can manifest itself in many ways, including improving access to SPEC-produced content, making our benchmarks and tools easier to use, and reaching out to emerging technology regions worldwide. SPEC is excited to continue pursuing its mission, and invites collaboration from all corners of the benchmarking community.