Portrait of Galen Hunt

Galen Hunt

Distinguished Engineer


My current research interest is in applying Large Language Models (LLMs) to address long-standing challenges in systems software.

I founded and led the team (opens in new tab) that created Azure Sphere (opens in new tab). Azure Sphere provides an end-to-end solution that enables any device manufacturer to create highly-secured devices; devices possessing all 7 Properties of Highly-Secured Devices (opens in new tab).

I was part of the launch leadership team for the Microsoft Research New Experiences and Technologies organization (MSR NExT) where I managed the Operating Systems Technologies Group (opens in new tab).  Previously, I led the Operating Systems and Distributed Systems Group (opens in new tab) in MSR’s Redmond Lab.

In the past, I explored the trade-offs between virtual machine monitors and OS kernels as ways to build new computing systems using Drawbridge (opens in new tab). I spent 12 months in 2012 and 2013 implementing Drawbridge in Azure for services, which was also used to bring Microsoft’s SQL Service to Linux (opens in new tab). Before that, I led the Menlo and Experiment 19 (opens in new tab) projects and the Singularity (opens in new tab) project. Experiment 19 was a skunk-works project completed in spring 2009 that demonstrated for the first time that Windows NT could effectively replace Windows CE as the core OS for mobile devices.  Within months of the completion of Experiment 19, Microsoft launched efforts to build what would become Windows Phone 8 and Windows RT for ARM tablets.

In 2000, I co-founded the MSR BIG Project (opens in new tab).  Ahead of our time, we discovered many principles of cloud computing five years ahead of Amazon’s AWS.  Over 30 US Patents issued for the cloud computing technologies we developed.  During a leave from MSR to move these ideas into Microsoft products, I was the Group Program Manager (opens in new tab) for Windows Automated Deployment Services. My group created two of the core technologies for Microsoft’s Dynamic Systems Initiative: the Dynamic Data Center and the System Definition Model.

Before BIG, I was a Researcher in the Systems and Networking Group. I worked on the Millennium Project; Continuum, a distributed version of the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) (opens in new tab); and Coign, a system that converted existing COM-based desktop applications into client-server distributed applications without access to application source code.  I’ve worked on running DCOM over System Area Networks (SANs), the Detours package for instrumenting Windows binaries, and a proxy device driver for creating Windows NT user-mode drivers.

As a MSR summer intern, I developed the prototype for the protocol and implementation for what became, after reworking by a cast of hundreds, Microsoft’s Advanced Streaming Format (ASF) and Windows Media Player (opens in new tab).

I have Ph.D. (1998) and M.S. (1996) degrees in Computer Science from the University of Rochester (opens in new tab), a B.S. (1992) degree in Physics from the University of Utah (opens in new tab), and an A.S. (1987) degree from what is now Utah Tech University (opens in new tab).

While at the University of Rochester, I was part of Michael Scott’s (opens in new tab) Cashmere (opens in new tab) team developing fast Software Distributed Shared Memory (SDSM) systems on memory mapped networks. I also modified the GNU Compiler Collection (opens in new tab) Objective-C runtime to support full multi-threading.

Before graduate school, I led software development at a small start-up, Software Migrations, Inc. Five people, a passion for customers, cutting edge data extraction and regeneration technology. It was an excellent experiment in leveraging automated software development tools and great fun.

As an undergraduate, I contributed to the Linux 0.11 text console driver. Before that, I created graphics libraries, applications, and compilers in C as a teenager.

Away from work, I am a private pilot, a determined father and husband, a learning ally to Black Leaders present and emerging, and an aspiring follower of Jesus Christ and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.