Portrait of Paolo Costa

Paolo Costa



News and Events


Short Bio

I am a researcher in the Systems and Networking Group of the Microsoft Research Lab in Cambridge. I also hold an honorary lecturer position with the Department of Computing of Imperial College London.

In the past, I had been a research faculty at Imperial College London and, prior to that, a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Computer Systems group at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I hold a M. Sc. and Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano.

Research Interests

I am an experimental computer scientist. I validated my ideas through prototypes to understand, model, and verify observations. My research interests lie at the intersection of distributed systems and networking with particular emphasis on large-scale networked systems, ranging from sensor and mobile networks to overlay networks and data centers.

In the past, among other things, I have been working on the CamCube and Predictable Datacenters projects, aiming to providing a better integration and synergy between applications and networks in data centers to improve performance and reduce complexity. More details can be found here.

My current research investigates how to improve data center networks through a deep rethinking of the way these networks are built and operated, leveraging the availability of new hardware technologies such as systems-on-chip (SoCs), distributed switching fabrics, and optical networks.

More information and the full list of publications can be found on my personal website.



Rack-scale Computing

Established: January 1, 2013

  New hardware technology such as systems- and networks-on-chip (SOCs and NOCs), switchless network fabrics, silicon photonics, and RDMA, are redefining the landscape of data center computing, enabling interconnecting thousands of cores at high speed at the scale of today's racks. We refer to this new class of hardware as rack-scale computers (RSCs) because the rack is increasingly replacing the individual server as the basic building block of modern data centers. Early examples of RSCs…

Predictable Data Centers (PDC)

Established: September 1, 2010

Performance predictability is a key requirement for high-performant applications in today's multi-tenant datacenters. Online services running in infrastructure datacenters need such predictability to satisfy applications SLAs. Cloud datacenters require guaranteed performance to bound customer costs and spur adoption. However, the network and storage stack used in today’s datacenters is unaware of such application requirements. This projects examines how to enable preditable datacenters. Performance predictability is a key requirement for high-performant applications in today's multi-tenant data…








NaaS: Network-as-a-Service in the Cloud
Paolo Costa, Matteo Migliavacca, Peter Pietzuch, Alexander L. Wolf, in Proceedings of the 2nd USENIX Workshop on Hot Topics in Management of Internet, Cloud, and Enterprise Networks and Services (Hot-ICE '12), co-located with USENIX NSDI'12, USENIX, April 1, 2012, View abstract, Download PDF





When Cars Start Gossiping
Paolo Costa, Daniela Gavidia, Boris Koldehofe, Hugo Miranda, Mirco Musolesi, Oriana Riva, in The 6th International Workshop on Middleware for Network Eccentric and Mobile Applications (Minema'08), co-located with ACM EUROSYS'08, Glasgow, Scotland, April, 2008., ACM Press, April 8, 2008, View abstract, Download PDF








PhD Students

PhD Students

I’m supervising the following student (started in October 2012):

I also serve on the advisory board of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in High Performance Embedded and Distributed Systems at Imperial College London.

Teaching and Courses




I am co-chairing or I have co-chaired the following events:

I was part of the organizing committee of:

Program Committee Membership

I am or have been on the Program Committee of the following events:

Award committees



Journal Reviewing

I have been a reviewer for the following scientific journals:


Past Research Projects

In the past, I had been involved in the following projects: