Systems Research Group – Redmond

Established: December 15, 2014

The Systems Research Group is devoted to significantly extending the state of the art in distributed systems and operating systems. Our aim is to make systems secure, scalable, fault-tolerant, manageable, fast, and efficient.

We’re always seeking creative, dedicated, smart individuals who’re interested in joining us. If you’re an excellent candidate interested in doing cutting-edge systems research at an institution where you can see that research pay off in direct product impact, we encourage you to apply for a position. Whether you’re about to graduate, or you’re already a seasoned researcher interested in exploring alternatives, we’d like to talk to you. Please apply at

If you have questions about our group, feel free to e-mail.

Latest News

Chuanxiong Guo promoted to Principal Researcher (March 2017)

Best Paper Award at OSDI 2016 for “Early Detection of Configuration Errors to Reduce Failure Damage” by Tianyin Xu, Xinxin Jin, Peng Huang, Yuanyuan Zhou, Shan Lu, Long Jin, and Shankar Pasupath (November 2016)

Jay Lorch promoted to Principal Researcher (September 2016)

Jorgen Thielin promoted to Principal Software Development Engineer (September 2016)

Systems Research Group has two papers accepted to OSDI 2016 (August 2016)

Gena Pekhimenko joins Systems Research Group (August 2016)

Ryan Huang joins Systems Research Group (August 2016)

Jacob Nelson joins Systems Research Group (July 2016)

Systems Research Group has two papers accepted to NSDI 2016 (March 2016)

Chris Hawblitzel promoted to Senior Researcher (March 2016)

IEEE Micro Top Picks Honorable Mention for “Unified Address Translation for Memory-Mapped SSDs with FlashMap” by Jian Huang, Anirudh Badam, Moinuddin K. Qureshi, and Karsten Schwann (January 2016)

Chuanxiong Guo joins Systems Research Group (January 2016)

Best Paper Award at USENIX Annual Technical Conference 2015 for “WearDrive: Fast and Energy Efficient Storage for Wearables” by Jian Huang, Anirudh Badam, Ranveer Chandra and Edmund B. Nightingale (July 2015)

Pu Zhang joins Systems Research Group (June 2015)

Systems Research Group has four papers accepted to SOSP 2015 (June 2015)

Myeongjae Jeon joins Systems Research Group (April 2015)

Srinath Setty joins Systems Research Group (December 2014)

Manos Kapritsos joins Systems Research Group (October 2014)

Best Paper Award at OSDI for “Shielding Applications from an Untrusted Cloud with Haven” by Andrew Baumann, Marcus Peinado, and Galen Hunt (October 2014)

Best Paper Award at Ubicomp for “Intruders Versus Intrusiveness: Teens’ and Parents’ Perspectives on Home-Entryway Surveillance” by Blase Ur, Jaeyeon Jung, and Stuart Schechter (October 2014)











Flat Datacenter Storage
Edmund B Nightingale, Jeremy Elson, Jinliang Fan, Owen Hofmann, Jon Howell, Yutaka Suzue, in The 10th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI '12), 10th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI 2012), USENIX, October 1, 2012, View abstract, Download PDF






ProjecToR: Agile Reconfigurable Data Center Interconnect

ProjecToR is a novel, free-space optics based approach for building data center interconnects. It uses a digital micromirror device (DMD) and mirror assembly combination as a transmitter and a photodetector on top of the rack as a receiver. Our approach enables all pairs of racks to establish direct links, and we can reconfigure such links (i.e., connect different rack pairs) within 12 µs. To carry traffic from a source to a destination rack, transmitters and…

CloudBrain for Automatic Troubleshooting for the Cloud

Established: January 1, 2016

Service availability, which is arguably the single most import KPI for cloud computing, can be brought down by various incidents. The state-of-the-art of incident troubleshooting, however, is still an (exhausting) effort of human experts. Our ongoing project, CloudBrain, aims for inventing new algorithms and building systems for automatic and real-time troubleshooting for large scale Cloud systems. At the algorithms level, CloudBrain tries to construct global views by connecting subcomponents of the systems, and then…

Private communication

Established: November 26, 2015

Keeping communication private has become increasingly important in an era of mass surveillance and state-sponsored attacks. While hiding the contents of a conversation has well-known solutions, hiding the associated metadata (participants, duration, etc.) remains a challenge, especially if one cannot trust ISPs or proxy servers. This research project investigates systems that can provably hide all content and metadata while withstanding global adversaries. Our results We have built a communication system called Pung that provably hides…

DSoAP – Distributed Social Analytics Platform

Established: June 1, 2015

The Distributed Social Analytics Platform (DSoAP) project is focused on the “Huge Data” problem in social policy research caused by the breadth of data involved. Using aggregate social media data to investigate and validate social issues such as employment, health and fiscal policy requires analyzing many months or years of data. DSoAP is applying intelligent compaction, pre-indexing and distribution of data across a server cluster to achieve responsive query times for online data exploration.


Established: April 17, 2015

The Kamino project explores ways in which systems should adopt new memory technologies including SSDs (NAND-Flash), battery-backed DRAM and emerging non-volatile memory technologies (phase change memory, memristors, spin-torque transfer memory, etc.) for increased performance and efficiency. The project explores how to best leverage such new memory technologies inside systems of all sizes and shapes: from mobile to data center scale. Kamino is the planet from the Star Wars world where the clone…


Established: April 17, 2015

The proliferation of connected devices can in theory enable a range of applications that make rich inferences about users and their environment. But in practice developing such applications today is arduous because they are constructed as monolithic silos, tightly coupled to sensing devices, and must implement all sensing & inference logic, even as devices move or are temporarily disconnected. Our goal is to break down restrictive device-application silos and simplify app development. Bam…


Established: October 2, 2014

An Ironclad App lets a user securely transmit her data to a remote machine with the guarantee that every instruction executed on that machine adheres to a formal abstract specification of the app's behavior. This does more than eliminate implementation vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, parsing errors, or data leaks; it tells the user exactly how the app will behave at all times. Our specifications, code, proofs, and tools for our projects Ironclad Apps (verifying the…

Zero-Effort Payments

Established: September 16, 2014

Zero-Effort Payments (ZEP) is a seamless mobile computing system designed to accept payments with no effort on the customer’s part beyond a one-time opt-in. With ZEP, customers need not present cards nor operate smartphones to convey their identities. ZEP uses three complementary identification technologies: face recognition, proximate device detection, and human assistance.

Optical Networking

Established: September 2, 2014

The Systems Research Group is devoted to significantly extending the state of the art in distributed systems and operating systems. Our aim is to make systems secure, scalable, fault-tolerant, manageable, fast, and efficient. We’re always seeking creative, dedicated, smart individuals who’re interested in joining us. If you’re an excellent candidate interested in doing cutting-edge systems […]

RDMA for Cloud Computing

Established: May 1, 2013

In this project, we have introduced a series of technologies, including DCQCN congestion control and DSCP-based PFC, and addressed a set of challenges including PFC deadlock, RDMA transport livelock, PFC pause frame storm, slow-receiver symptom, to make RDMA scalable and safe, and to enable RDMA deployable in production at large scale. We currently are working on RDMA deadlock understanding and prevention, and RDMA support for future AI infrastructure. RDMA Congestion Control Modern datacenter applications…


Established: September 19, 2011

Drawbridge is a research prototype of a new form of virtualization for application sandboxing. Drawbridge combines two core technologies: First, a picoprocess, which is a process-based isolation container with a minimal kernel API surface. Second, a library OS, which is a version of Windows enlightened to run efficiently within a picoprocess. Hardware-based Virtual Machines (VMs) have fundamentally changed computing in data centers and enabled the cloud. VMs offer three compelling qualities:…


Established: June 14, 2011

The GreenUp project provides a comprehensive energy/sleep monitoring and seamless wake up solution for a corporate network environment. Machines can be allowed to aggressively go to sleep safe in the knowledge that they can be seamlessly woken on-demand whenever they are accessed. By allowing machines to sleep more often significant energy savings can be achieved. Energy savings and usage can be readily monitored on the client as well as via a central database. How does…

Battery Research at Microsoft

Established: March 19, 2011

Mobile devices such as smartphones, along with other battery operated devices, are energy constrained. While hardware capabilities have increased tremendously over the last ten years, battery energy density has only doubled. In this project we are exploring several techniques to extend the battery life of mobile devices. Our vision is to create a fully-capable phone which runs for a week without recharging under normal usage. Our work spans innovation across all layers of the battery…

Orleans – Virtual Actors

Established: October 14, 2010

Project "Orleans" invented the Virtual Actor abstraction, which provides a straightforward approach to building distributed interactive applications, without the need to learn complex programming patterns for handling concurrency, fault tolerance, and resource management. Orleans applications scale-up automatically and are meant to be deployed in the cloud. It has been used heavily by a number of high-scale cloud services at Microsoft, starting with cloud services for the Halo franchise running in production in Microsoft Azure since 2011. The core…


Microsoft researchers have developed a way to make wearables last longer

By Allison Linn, Senior Writer, Microsoft Research Microsoft researchers have come up with a way to make wearable gadgets such as fitness trackers and smart watches go much longer between charges. The research project, called WearDrive, is the latest development in the researchers’ broad effort to vastly improve the battery life of all our favorite devices. This week, the paper outlining WearDrive was named one of the three best papers at the USENIX Annual…

July 2015

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