Keynote: A Revolution Against Big-Brother Social Networks


July 10, 2015


Monica Lam


Stanford University


With the widespread adoption of proprietary social networks like Facebook and mobile chat platforms like Wechat, we may be heading to a future where all our communication are monetized and our online transactions are mediated by closed monopolistic big-data companies.

This talk describes an open social movement led by Omlet, an open messaging service and distributed computing platform that spun out of four years of research at Stanford University. To the user, Omlet appears as a super chat app with many plug-ins and extensions; deep down, Omlet is actually a distributed social OS and network. At the heart of Omlet is a universal messaging system where devices can communicate with each other via existing identities such as phone numbers or email addresses, without giving up ownership of the communication data. Built upon this messaging layer is a distributed semantic file system that enables collaborative apps be written easily while allowing data be distributed in the cloud service of the users’ choice.


Monica Lam

Dr. Monica Lam has been a Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University since 1988. She received a BSc from University of British Columbia in 1980 and a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1987. She is the Faculty Director of the Stanford MobiSocial Computing Laboratory. Her current research interests are in building an open and federated social computing infrastructure. She has worked in the areas of architecture, compiler optimization, software analysis to improve security, mobile and social computing. Lam is an ACM Fellow, received an NSF Young Investigator award in 1992, and has won a range of best paper awards from the ACM. She is a co-author of the “dragon book”, the most popular textbook in compilers. She is also the founding CEO of Omlet, a Stanford spinoff to create an open social platform.