New Directions in Networked Systems Design


Join us for a fast paced half-day mini-summit where some of the active networked systems researchers in academia and industry give short (~10 minute) talks answering the following two questions: (1) what are the cannot misscutting-edge problem(s) [they are working on] and how will their solution(s) transform/impact our industry, and (2) why should the industry care (or not care) about a particular “hot” research area/topic?

The goal of this informal event is to create stronger ties between Microsoft’s technical community leaders and some of the top systems researchers in academia, and to learn about the next big ideas these researchers are working on.



  • 09:00 -09:15 Welcome & Intros
  • 09:15- 10:05 Session 1 (5 talks)
  • 10:05 -10:20 Break
  • 10:20 -11:20 Session 2 (6 talks)
  • 11:20 -11:30 Break
  • 11:30 -12:10 Industry talks (Telefonica, Technicolor, Google, NEC)
  • 12:10 Adjourn

Session 1 (9:15 – 10:05)

  • Enabling Innovation in Cellular Networks, Prof. Srini Seshan, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Enabling a Dynamically Deployable Wireless Infrastructure, Eric Keller, University of Colorado
  • Exploiting Angle-of-Arrival Information for Highly Accurate and Responsive Indoor Localization, Prof. Kyle Jamieson, University College London
  • Smartphone Energy Research, did the Industry Miss It? Prof. Charlie Hu, Purdue University
  • Rethinking the Wireless Architecture, Prof. Shyam Gollakota, University of Washington Seattle

Session 2 (10:20 – 11:20)

Industry Talks (11:30 –12:10)

  • Telefonica Research: Beyond Connectivity, Dr. Vijay Erramilli, Telefonica
  • Lessons from an Internet-Scale Notification System, Dr. Atul Adya, Google
  • Monetization of private data, Dr. Nina Taft, Technicolor
  • Evolving cellular network architectures for handling mobile data traffic explosion, Dr. Sampath Rangarajan, NEC Labs America

Talk Abstracts

Exploiting Angle-of-Arrival Information for Highly Accurate and Responsive Indoor Localization

Prof. Kyle Jamieson, University College London

Abstract: Location systems are key to a rich experience for mobile users. When they roam outdoors, mobiles can usually count on a clear GPS signal for an accurate location, but indoors, GPS usually fades, and so up until recently, mobiles have had to rely mainly on rather coarse-grained signal strength readings for location. I will talk about the design and experimental evaluation of ArrayTrack, an indoor location system that uses Angle-of-Arrival information at access points to track wireless clients in real time as they roam about a building. Our results show that ArrayTrack can pinpoint 33 clients spread out over an indoor office environment to within a median 25 cm location accuracy.

Copper is Dead—and what that means for computer science

Nathan Farrington, University of California San Diego

Abstract: In this talk, you will learn why copper electrical wiring can never effectively be used to build high-speed data center networks at 40G and up, and no matter how much as computer scientists we kick and scream, we will be forced to learn to stop worrying and love optical communications.

Transport in Future Warehouse-Scale Computers

Mohammad Alizadeh, Stanford University

Abstract: The datacenter increasingly resembles a warehouse-scale computer: a large collection of computing and networking resources that work in concert to efficiently deliver superior performance. For this vision to fully materialize, transport in the datacenter (the plumbing) needs to vastly improve. I will discuss some of the opportunities and challenges in this space and recent research that aims to address them.

Going from BASE towards ACID with NoSQL

Emin Gun Sirer, Cornell University

Abstract: You’ve heard of the NoSQL revolution and the CAP Theorem. In this talk, I will tell you why CAP is not what it’s cracked up to be and describe a revolutionary new architecture for NoSQL data stores that are consistent, available in the presence of partitions that affect up to a threshold of nodes, scalable, and above all, fast.

The Middlebox Manifesto

Prof.Vyas Sekar, State University of New York Stony Brook

Abstract: Middleboxes (firewalls, IDSes, proxies, WAN optimizers, and the like) have long been an integral part of operational networks, but have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens in the research community. There is growing recognition of the need to bridge this disconnect in both camps. I will describe my recent research related to the design, implementation, and management of middle-boxes and discuss some challenges and opportunities in integrating middleboxes with SDN mechanisms.

CloudBase: Enabling a Dynamically Deployable Wireless Infrastructure

Eric Keller, Colorado University

Abstract: Wireless networks face a variety of difficult present-day and future challenges, in particular those of burgeoning demands for capacity and the high costs and slow deployment of new wireless capabilities. To overcome the current state where there are multiple, provider specific static networks, (some even making use of the cloud), we believe we should learn from the successes of cloud computing, which made it trivial and low cost to roll out a new web service. We propose that industry should be doing the same with the wireless edge, in an architecture we call CloudBase. CloudBase uses software radio to enable a single device to be used for any wireless enabled service, virtualizes the software radio to enable a single device to be shared across multiple services, and organizes the virtualized software radios in a cloud-like architecture to enable dynamically deployable wireless services on a shared infrastructure.

Verifying the Data Plane

Prof. Brighten Gdfrey, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Abstract: The increasing complexity of modern computer networks has far outpaced the development of tools to manage their operation. We are developing tools which simplify network security and management by formally reasoning about network-wide forwarding behavior. Our first data plane verification system, Anteater [SIGCOMM’11], revealed multiple real-world bugs in a large university network, including forwarding loops and stale ACL rules. VeriFlow [HotSDN’12] checks network-wide invariants in real time as each forwarding rule is inserted, optionally blocking vulnerabilities from being introduced into the network. Our current OpenFlow-based implementation can perform rigorous checking within hundreds of microseconds per rule insertion. This talk presents work with Ahmed Khurshid, Haohui Mai, Kelvin Zou, Wenxuan Zhou, Rachit Agarwal, Matthew Caesar, and Sam King.

Telefonica Research: Beyond Connectivity

Dr. Vijay Erramilli, Telefonica

Abstract: In this short presentation, I’ll try to highlight 3 ongoing projects at Telefonica Research. The first project involves high-end cuisine and working with arguably, the best chef on the planet – Ferran Adria. The second project involves sports and working with arguably, the best football club on the planet — FC Barcelona. The last project is relatively sedate and deals with personal data and online privacy.

Lessons from an Internet-Scale Notification System

Dr. Atul Adya, Google

Abstract: Over the past few years, we have built a large-scale notification system called Thialfi that provides notifications to a variety of Google applications such as Chrome, Google Drive, and Google Plus.

In this presentation, I will briefly describe Thialfi and share some of the lessons learnt working with various application teams and running Thialfi as a service. I believe that most of our insights are relevant for many large-scale services.

Evolving cellular network architectures for handling mobile data traffic explosion

Dr. Sampath Rangarajan, NEC Labs America

Abstract: Mobile data traffic is expected to grow at a rapid pace. Cisco VNI report has predicted that mobile traffic will grow 18 times during the period 2011 – 2016. Although traditional PHY/MAC techniques for improving spectral efficiency is expected to provide some of the required increase in capacity, most of it is expected to come from new network-level techniques and architectural deployments. In this talk, I will introduce some of these technologies and on-going work at NEC Labs America in this direction.