Systems and Networking

UW CSE is exploring new frontiers in systems and networking research, which encompasses the fundamental aspects of operating systems, distributed systems, networks, and security. This is a high-impact, collaborative area that reflects a variety of faculty interests and expertise, including: operating systems structure; network and systems reliability; robust protocol design; Internet security and privacy; peer-to-peer systems; mobile and wireless systems; high-performance, scalable cluster-based systems; the measurement of deployed, wide-area systems, such as the Web and content distribution networks; pervasive computing; cloud computing; and virtual machine technology.

Our record has earned us recognition as one of the best departments for systems and networking research worldwide, and our faculty and students have been recognized with more than 25 best paper awards at major conferences. Recent projects include:

  • Ambient Backscatter, a system that transforms existing wireless signals into both a source of power and a communication medium, eliminating the need for batteries. This novel technique enables devices to communicate among themselves at unprecedented scales and in locations that were previously inaccessible by transmitting data using Wi-Fi, television, radio, and cellular signals.

  • Arrakis, the award-winning new operating system that is designed to make the most of the latest trends in applications and devices. Unlike traditional operating systems, which are limiting, Arrakis removes barriers between increasingly sophisticated apps and the hardware on which they run. By relieving the operating system of its role as intermediary, Arrakis will enable unprecedented customizability, reliability, and performance.

  • Co-designing Data Center Networks and Distributed Systems, an alternative to the traditional approach of designing distributed systems independently from the design of the underlying network. While this separation is well-suited to the Internet, an increasing number of distributed applications are deployed in data centers that are more predictable, reliable, and extensible. By co-designing distributed systems along with their network layer, we aim to make both more robust and efficient.

  • F10 (Fault-Tolerant Engineered Network), a novel system for addressing data center failures that cause costly performance bottlenecks in today’s cloud computing environment. F10’s engineered network and routing protocol enable data centers to restore connectivity and load balance almost instantaneously in the presence of multiple failures, leading to a significant reduction in packet loss while improving application-level performance.

  • Sapphire, a distributed programming platform that simplifies the design and deployment of mobile and cloud applications in today’s heterogeneous environment of smartphones, tablets, personal devices, and variable network connectivity. Sapphire reduces complexity while providing developers with fine-grained control in building widely distributed, massively multi-user, and eternally persistent mobile and cloud applications.

  • WiSee, a novel interaction interface that uses wireless signals such as Wi-Fi to enable whole-home sensing and gesture recognition. It is the first wireless system that can identify human gestures in line of sight, out of the line of sight, and through a wall. Researchers have demonstrated that WiSee is capable of identifying nine gestures with 94 percent accuracy.

Visit the Networks & Sensing Lab and Computer Systems Lab websites to learn more about our work, which has been covered by media outlets such as MIT Technology Review, Seattle Business Magazine, and The New York Times, and explore related research at UW CSE in wireless and sensor systems, computer architecture, programming languages and software engineering, and ubiquitous computing.