Portrait of Jay Lorch

Jay Lorch

Principal Researcher


I'm a Principal Researcher in the Systems Research Group at Microsoft Research.  My research focuses broadly on computer systems, with particular emphasis on distributed systems, software verification, trusted computing, privacy, cloud computing, and energy management.

I love projects that involve building systems, and a major interest of mine is achieving fault tolerance in those systems. I've shown how to deal with server failures in SMART and Shroud, trusted-component power failures in TrInc and Memoir, and improperly behaving participants in decentralized systems like GreenUp and FARSITE. I'm an expert in Paxos and its many variants, having used it in several systems; most recently, in the IronFleet project, my team and I produced the first-ever implementation of Paxos with a machine-checked proof of both its safety and liveness.

In much of my work, I leverage the power of trusted computing to solve difficult problems in security and privacy. The TrInc work shows how a simple trusted device could be leveraged for a great variety of purposes, including efficiently tolerating Byzantine faults, preventing Sybil attacks, preventing BitTorrent under-reporting, and allowing untrusted entities to provide trusted services. The Shroud system demonstrates how a server can use secure hardware to hide difficult-to-hide information hackers can otherwise glean from access patterns, such as who's friends with whom and where someone is looking for local information. And, the Ironclad project shows how to use full-system software verification to enable provably justifiable trust in services that run on trusted platforms in the cloud.


Project Everest – Verified Secure Implementations of the HTTPS Ecosystem

Established: May 31, 2016

Summary Project Everest aims to build and deploy a verified HTTPS stack. The HTTPS ecosystem (HTTPS and TLS protocols, X.509 public key infrastructure, crypto algorithms) is the foundation on which Internet security is built. Unfortunately, this ecosystem is extremely brittle, with headline-grabbing attacks such as FREAK and LogJam and emergency patches many times a year. Project Everest proposes to solve this problem by constructing a high-performance, standards-compliant, and verified implementation of the full HTTPS ecosystem. We…


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.


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:…


























 Professional Activities
  • Program Committee Member for SOSP 2017, IEEE S&P 2016 & 2017, NSDI 2016 & 2017, WWW 2015, FAST 2014, NDSS 2014, HotOS 2013, ICDCS 2013, Eurosys 2011, IPTPS 2008 & 2009, P2P 2012 & 2013, and MMVE 2010 & 2012
  • Treasurer for SOSP 2015
  • Program Committee Chair for P2P 2015
  • Panelist for NSF Expeditions in Computing 2011
  • Registration Chair for SOSP 2009
  • Sponsorships Chair for SOSP 2007