Portrait of Mike Jones

Mike Jones

Director of Identity Partnerships


Michael B. Jones is Director of Identity Partnerships at Microsoft.  He is working with a broad coalition of people across multiple industries to build the Internet’s missing Identity layer.  He represents Microsoft on the Information Card Foundation and OpenID Foundation boards of directors.  He just completed terms as president of the USENIX Association board of directors and board member of the Computing Research Association (CRA).  He was a member of theSystems and Networking Research Group at Microsoft Research from 1992 to 2005.  His research covered diverse topics in operating systems and distributed systems, including scalable peer-to-peer based event notification, real-time scheduling for open systems, and designing an early distributed fault-tolerant video server.  He has organized and chaired numerous computer science research conferences, has a large set of publications, and has authored patents covering a diverse set of inventions.  He is an active director of Asia Images, a specialty stock photography company.  Michael earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1992, where he was a member of the Mach project.  He was a technical reviewer for the POSIX threads standards.  His interests include digital identity, privacy-protecting systems, distributed systems, networking, operating systems, adaptive real-time systems, musical performance, outdoor activities, and his fellow human beings



















SkipNet and applications

February 2004

SkipNet is an overlay network providing both practical locality properties and efficient communication. This release contains sources for the SkipNet overlay network and two other technologies built using it: the Overlook distributed name service, and the FUSE lightweight distributed failure notification system, plus applications exercising them. The SkipNet code and applications can be run in…

Size: 14 MB

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  • Website


Recent Activities

Past Activities

Research Projects at Microsoft Research

  • Singularity: My most recent research work was with the Singularity project. Singularity is a research operating system that only loads and runs type-safe managed code.
  • Herald: I worked from 2001 through 2004 on the Herald project. Herald’s goal was to build a publish/subscribe event notification service deployed as a self-configuring federation of peers designed to scale to Internet size and to provide timely delivery of notifications.
  • Consumer Real-Time: I worked for several years in the area of Consumer Real-Time.  My goal was to make it possible to develop independent real-time applications independently, while enabling their predictable concurrent execution, both with each other and with non-real-time applications.  This project began with the Rialto work using the Microsoft Interactive TV kernel and continued with Rialto/NT, which was based on Windows NT.
  • Rialto: Rialto’s goal was to make it possible to develop independent real-time applications independently, while enabling their predictable concurrent execution, both with each other and with non-real-time applications. Towards this end, we built a small real-time operating system designed to support advanced consumer multimedia applications, and used it as a test-bed to experiment with CPU scheduling and resource negotiation abstractions.
  • Tiger: We built a scalable, fault-tolerant distributed multimedia file system using commodity hardware. Both Rialto and Tiger were used in Microsoft’s Interactive TV trial with NTT in Yokosuka, Japan.

Research Projects at Carnegie Mellon University, etc.

  • Interposition Agents:  I built A Toolkit for Interposing User Code at the System Interface (my Ph.D. thesis system at CMU).
  • Mach:  The CMU Mach operating system project built a multi-threaded, multiprocessor, microkernel operating system that was used as the basis for NextStep and MacOS X.
  • Taos: I worked on the Distributed Name Service for the Taos distributed operating system at the DEC Systems Research Center (DEC SRC).
  • SPICE:  The CMU Scientific Personal Integrated Computing Environment (SPICE) project built message-based operating system and applications for a networked “3M” workstation, one with a megapixel display, a megabyte of memory, and a 1 Mips processor.

Offices Held

Offices Held and Ongoing Roles

Offices Recently Held

Summer Interns

Just for fun

  • Amazing photos from the Palio: See what it’s like to have front row seats at the oldest continuously run horse race in the world — the Palio in Siena Italy.  In the race we attended in August 2007, 5 of the 10 starting jockeys completed the 3-lap bareback, no-holds-barred race around the town square.  I could have touched one of them as he came unseated.  Amazing!
  • 🙂 After a successful computing archaeology effort, as of September 2002, the original bboard post in which the smiley 🙂 was invented by Scott Fahlman in September 1982 is back online!
  • Real-World (Out of This World) Story: The Mars Pathfinder mission was widely proclaimed as “flawless” in the early days after its July 4th, 1997 landing on the Martian surface. Successes included its unconventional “landing” — bouncing onto the Martian surface surrounded by airbags, deploying the Sojourner rover, and gathering and transmitting voluminous data back to Earth, including the panoramic pictures that were such a hit on the Web. But a few days into the mission, not long after Pathfinder started gathering meteorological data, the spacecraft began experiencing system resets. The press reported these failures in terms such as “software glitches” and “the computer was trying to do too many things at once”. Read What really happened on Mars? Also, be sure to read this follow-up message from Glenn Reeves of JPL, who led the software team for the Mars Pathfinder spacecraft.

What's New?

  • OASIS IMI 1.0 Standard:  The OASIS Identity Metasystem Interoperability (IMI) 1.0 standard was approved on July 1, 2009.
  • Information Card Foundation Board:  In June 2008 I joined the Information Card Foundation board of directors as Microsoft’s representative, as announced on June 24th.  Also see my personal perspective on the Information Card Foundation launch.
  • OpenID Foundation Board:  In January 2008 I joined the OpenID Foundation board of directors as Microsoft’s representative, as announced on February 7th.  Also see my personal blog post supporting the announcement and Microsoft’s post at PressPass.
  • Blogging:  In April 2007 I launched self-issued.info, a blog for digital identity discussions. I hope you’ll find the content there useful, thought-provoking, and sometimes just plain fun.  Let the conversation begin…
  • Tighter Focus on Identity:  In March 2007, I moved from the Web Services Interoperability team to the Federated Identity team (both within Microsoft’s Connected Systems Division).  This move enables me to focus full-time on Digital Identity.  I’m passionate about Identity and see it as a key enabler for making the online world both more personal and more valuable.  I’m working with strategic customers and partners to drive adoption of privacy-enhancing, ubiquitously-accepted, easy-to-use identity solutions.
  • Microsoft / OpenID Collaboration:  Read about the Microsoft / OpenID collaboration on Kim Cameron’s blog and read thetranscript of Bill Gates’ and Craig Mundie’s speech announcing this at the RSA Security conference.  We’re working together to bring the benefits of phishing-resistant authentication methods, such as Windows CardSpace, to the growing community of OpenID users.
  • CardSpace One-Pager Published:  This paper is a one-page introduction to Microsoft’s CardSpace software, which facilitates user-centric identity interactions online through an easy-to-use visual “Information Card” metaphor.
    Michael B. Jones.  A One-Page Introduction to Windows CardSpace, January 2007.
  • Information Card Web Specification Published:  This specification documents the web interfaces utilized by browsers and web applications that support Information Cards. The information in this document is not specific to any one browser or platform.
    Michael B. Jones.  A Guide to Supporting Information Cards within Web Applications and Browsers as of the Information Card Profile V1.0, December 2006.
  • Identity Metasystem Design Rationale Paper Published:  Many of the problems facing the Internet today stem from the lack of a widely deployed, easily understood, secure identity solution. Microsoft’s CardSpace software and the Identity Metasystem vision underlying it are aimed at filling this gap using technology all can adopt and solutions all can endorse, putting users in control of their identity interactions on the Internet.  The design decisions presented in this paper are intended to result in a widely accepted, broadly applicable, inclusive, comprehensible, privacy-enhancing, security-enhancing identity solution for the Internet.  We present them and the rationale behind them to facilitate review of these design decisions by the security, privacy, and policy communities, so that people will better understand Microsoft’s implementations, and to help guide others when building interoperating implementations.
    Kim Cameron and Michael B. Jones.  Design Rationale behind the Identity Metasystem Architecture, January 2006.
  • Identity Metasystem Whitepaper Published:  Kim Cameron and I authored the Microsoft whitepaper Microsoft’s Vision for an Identity Metasystem published on May 12, 2005.  It describes our initiative with the rest of the industry to interconnect today’s diverse collection of identity systems into an interoperable Identity Metasystem, analogous to how the Internet Protocol tied together individual network technologies such as Ethernet, Token Ring, and X.25 (and enabled new technologies, such as 802.11 wireless to be easily incorporated as they were invented). The Identity Metasystem and Microsoft’s “InfoCard” identity selector client will help prevent phishing by ensuring that sites strongly authenticate themselves to users in a non-spoofable manner.
  • From Research to Products: After 12+ years as a member of the Systems and Networking Research Group at Microsoft Research, in early 2005 I decided that it was time to find a position that would use the full range of both my technical and inter-personal, coalition-building skills. And I found a great one! At the beginning of March 2005 I started a new position at Microsoft as Director of Distributed Systems Customer Strategy and Evangelism. This position is a great fit for me because it’s very much a collaborative cross-group and multi-company, multi-platform effort. I’m working with people all over Microsoft and with numerous customers and partners across a tremendous range of industries worldwide.