February 28, 2020

Announcing the winners of the Distributed Systems research awards

By: Meta Research

At Facebook, we are performing forward-looking research into the area of distributed systems, applying important techniques from the field at Facebook’s scale and sharing our designs, implementations, insights, and data with the community. To address fundamental challenges and understand future issues, we launched the Distributed Systems request for proposals at the Symposium on Operating Systems Principles in October 2019 and invited the academic community to respond. In particular, we welcomed proposals that looked into the following topic areas:

  • Distributed performance tracing and analysis
  • Efficient shard mapping and placement (on the order of billions of shards)
  • Request load balancing (e.g., for HTTP and RPC traffic)
  • Fault tolerance (with a focus on power and network fault domains)
  • Large-scale configuration management, monitoring, and deployment
  • Efficient use of hardware resources via software codesign

Out of a total of 63 proposals from 12 countries and 50 universities, eight winners were selected and are listed below. “We were thrilled to receive so many high-quality and thought-provoking submissions; we continue to be inspired by the work of our academic peers,” says Justin Meza, Research Scientist on the Facebook Core Systems team.

“It was challenging to only select eight awardees,” he says. “We are grateful to the research community for engaging so enthusiastically with us, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.” The RFP winners are invited to the Core Systems Faculty Summit in 2020 (time TBD), where they will have the opportunity to discuss their proposals with the research community.

For more details about the Distributed Systems RFP, including background information, eligibility, and proposal requirements, visit its application page.

Research award winners

Principal investigators are listed first unless otherwise noted.

BlockCheck: Examining and improving blockchain reliability
Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau, Aishwarya Ganesan, Ramnatthan Alagappan, and Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Consolidating workloads at microsecond timescales
Adam Belay (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Continuous configuration testing
Tianyin Xu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Fine-grained computation over disaggregated storage
Ryan Stutsman (University of Utah)

Optimizing distributed transactions on emerging hardware
Arvind Krishnamurthy (University of Washington)

Reduced cost cluster storage by exploiting disk-reliability heterogeneity
Rashmi Vinayak (Carnegie Mellon University)

Towards hybrid asynchronous/synchronous distributed systems
Patrick Eugster, Pierre-Louis Roman (Università della Svizzera italiana [Lugano]), and Patrick Jahnke (TU Darmstadt)

WLC: Improving cache management in CDNs with machine learning
Wyatt Lloyd and Kai Li (Princeton University)

To view our currently open research awards and to subscribe to our email list, visit our Research Awards page.