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##### Research areas
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Trending search topics cause unpredictable query load spikes that hurt the end-user search experience, particularly the mobile one, by introducing longer delays. To understand how trending search topics are formed and evolve over time, we analyze 21 million queries submitted during periods where popular events caused search query volume spikes. Based on our findings, we design and evaluate PocketTrend, a system that automatically detects trending topics in real time, identifies the search...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 May 2015
Type: Inproceeding

Cloud platforms involve multiple independently developed components, often executing on diverse hardware configurations and across multiple data centers. This complexity makes tracking various key performance indicators (KPIs) and manual diagnosing of anomalies in system behavior both difficult and expensive. In this paper, we describe Argus, an automated system for mining service logs to identify anomalies and help formulate data-driven hypotheses.

Argus includes a suite of efficient mining...

##### Publication details
Date: 15 April 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: IEEE

As the number of connected devices explodes, the use scenarios of these devices and data have multiplied. Many of these scenarios, e.g., home automation, require tools beyond data visualizations, to express user intents and to ensure interactions do not cause undesired effects in the physical world. We present SIFT, a safety-centric programming platform for connected devices in IoT environments. First, to simplify programming, users express high-level intents in declarative IoT apps. The system then...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 April 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

Today's WLANs are struggling to provide desirable features like high efficiency, fairness and QoS because of the use of Distributed Coordination Function (DCF). In this paper we present OpenTDMF, an architecture to enable TDMA on commodity WLAN devices. Our hope is to provide the desirable features without entirely rebuilding the WLAN infrastructure. OpenTDMF is inspired by and architecturally similar to Software Defined Networking (SDN). Specifically, we leverage the backhaul of WLAN to coordinate all...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 April 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: IEEE INFOCOM 15

Software-defined radio (SDR) brings the flexibility of software to wireless protocol design, promising an ideal platform for innovation and rapid protocol deployment. However, implementing modern wireless protocols on existing SDR platforms often requires careful hand-tuning of low-level code, which can undermine the advantages of software.

Ziria is a new domain-specific language (DSL) that offers programming abstractions suitable for wireless physical (PHY) layer tasks while emphasizing the...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 March 2015
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

In many applications, the structure of data can be represented by a hyper-graph, where the data items are vertices, and the associations among items are represented by hyper-edges. Equivalently, we are given as input a bipartite graph with two kinds of vertices: items, and associations (which we refer to as topics). We consider the problem of partitioning the set of items into a given number of partitions, such that the maximum number of topics covered by a partition is minimized.

This is a...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 February 2015
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Number: MSR-TR-2015-15

We propose BloomCookies that encode a user's profile in a compact and privacy-preserving way, without preventing online services from using it for personalization purposes. The BloomCookies design is inspired by our analysis of a large set of web search logs that shows drawbacks of two profile obfuscation techniques, namely profile generalization and noise injection, today used by many privacy-preserving personalization systems. We find that profile generalization significantly hurts personalization and...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 February 2015
Type: Inproceeding

Datacenter-scale computing for analytics workloads is increasingly common. High operational costs force heterogeneous applications to share cluster resources for achieving economy of scale. Scheduling such large and diverse workloads is inherently hard, and existing approaches tackle this in two alternative ways: 1) centralized solutions offer strict, secure enforcement of scheduling invariants (e.g., fairness, capacity) for heterogeneous applications, 2) distributed solutions offer...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 February 2015
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2015-6

Large organizations today operate data centers around the globe where massive amounts of data are produced and consumed by local users. Despite their geographically diverse origin, such data must be analyzed/mined as a whole. We call the problem of supporting rich DAGs of computation across geographically distributed data: Wide-Area Big-Data (WABD) . To the best of our knowledge, WABD is not supported by currently deployed systems nor sufficiently studied in literature; it is addressed today by...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 January 2015
Type: Article
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

The tooling landscape of deep learning is fragmented by a growing gap between the generic and productivity-oriented tools that optimize for algorithm development and the task-specific ones that optimize for speed and scale. This creates an artificial barrier to bring new innovations into real-world applications. Minerva addresses this issue with a layered design that provides language flexibility and execution efficiency simultaneously within one coherent framework. It proposes a matrix-based API,...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 December 2014
Type: Inproceeding

Data centre applications for batch processing (e.g., map/reduce frameworks) and online services (e.g., search engines) scale by distributing data and computation across many servers. They typically follow a partition/aggregation pattern: tasks are first partitioned across servers that process data locally, and then those partial results are aggregated. This data aggregation step, however, shifts the performance bottleneck to the network, which typically struggles to support many-to-few,...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 December 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery
##### Publication details
Date: 1 December 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: IEEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Our cloud services are losing too many battles to faults like software bugs, resource interference, and hardware failures. Many tools can help us win these battles: model checkers to verify, fault injection to find bugs, replay to debug, and many more. Unfortunately, tools are currently afterthoughts in cloud service designs that must either be tediously tangled into service implementations or integrated transparently in ways that fail to effectively capture the service’s problematic non-deterministic...

##### Publication details
Date: 26 November 2014
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Number: MSR-TR-2014-150

Partial aggregation is of great importance in many distributed data-parallel systems. Most notably, it is commonly applied by MapReduce programs to optimize I/O by successively aggregating partially reduced results into a final result, as opposed to aggregating all input records at once. In spite of its importance, programmers currently enable partial aggregation by tediously encoding their reduce functionality into separate reduce and combine functions. This is error prone and often leads to missed...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: SOCC

Network traffic prioritization is gaining attention in the WSN community, as more and more features are being integrated into sensor networks. Real-world deployment experience suggests that WSN brings new challenges to existing problems, such as resource constraints, low data-rate radios, and diverse application scenarios. We present the RushNet framework that prioritizes two common traffic patterns in multi-hop sensor networks: low-priority (LP) traffic that is large-volume but delay-tolerant, and...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

The continuous shift towards data-driven approaches to business, and a growing attention to improving return on investments (ROI) for cluster infrastructures is generating new challenges for big-data frameworks. Systems originally designed for big batch jobs now handle an increasingly complex mix of computations. Moreover, they are expected to guarantee stringent SLAs for production jobs and minimize latency for best-effort jobs.

In this paper, we introduce reservation-based scheduling,...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Article
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

OAuth is undoubtedly a highly influential protocol today, because of its swift and wide adoption in the industry. The initial objective of the protocol was specific: it serves the authorization needs for websites. What motivates our work is the realization that the protocol has been significantly re-purposed and re-targeted over the years: (1) all major identity providers, e.g., Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter, have re-purposed OAuth for user authentication; (2)...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: ACM – Association for Computing Machinery

We give message-optimal randomized algorithms for two fundamental
In leader election, all n participants compete for a single item, whereas in renaming the n participants
each compete for one of n distinct items, or names.
The setting is the classic asynchronous message-passing model, where the n
processors communicate over unreliable channels, while timing and t < n / 2 processor crashes are controlled
by a...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2014-18

In this work, we consider the following random process, motivated by the analysis of lock-free concurrent algorithms under stochastic schedulers. In each step, a new ball is allocated into one of $n$ bins, according to a distribution $\vect{p} = (p_1, p_2, \ldots, p_n)$, where each ball goes to bin $i$ with probability $p_i$. When some bin first reaches a set threshold of balls, it registers a \emph{win}, and resets its ball count to $1$. At the same time, bins whose ball count was close to the...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 November 2014
Type: Technical report
Number: MSR-TR-2014-153

As the number of connected devices (and sensors) in the world grows with high momentum, the scenarios on using these devices and data have also expanded. Many of these scenarios (e.g., home automation) require tools beyond data visualizations, to express user intents and to ensure interactions do not cause undesired effects in the physical world. To this end, we present SIFT, a safety-centric programming platform for connected devices in IoT environments. First, to simplify programming, users express...

##### Publication details
Date: 20 October 2014
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Microsoft Research
Number: MSR-TR-2014-136

A significant fraction of data stored in cloud storage is rarely accessed. This data is referred to as cold data; cost-effective storage for cold data has become a challenge for cloud providers. Pelican is a rack-scale hard disk based storage unit designed as the basic building block for exabyte scale storage for cold data. In Pelican, server, power, cooling and interconnect bandwidth resources are provisioned by design to support cold data workloads; this right-provisioning...

##### Publication details
Date: 6 October 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: 11th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI '14)

An Ironclad App lets a user securely transmit her data to a remote machine with the guarantee that every instruction executed on that machine adheres to a formal abstract specification of the app’s behavior. This does more than eliminate implementation vulnerabilities such as buffer overflows, parsing errors, or data leaks; it tells the user exactly how the app will behave at all times. We provide these guarantees via complete, low-level software verification. We then use cryptography and secure...

##### Publication details
Date: 6 October 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: USENIX – Advanced Computing Systems Association

Today's cloud computing infrastructure requires substantial trust. Cloud users rely on both the provider's staff and its globally-distributed software/hardware platform not to expose any of their private data.

We introduce the notion of shielded execution, which protects the confidentiality and integrity of a program and its data from the platform on which it runs (i.e., the cloud operator's OS, VM and firmware). Our prototype, Haven, is the first system to achieve shielded execution of...

##### Publication details
Date: 6 October 2014
Type: Inproceeding
Publisher: USENIX – Advanced Computing Systems Association

Most discovery systems for silent failures work in two phases: a continuous monitoring phase that detects presence of failures through probe packets and a localization phase that pinpoints the faultyelement(s). We focus on the monitoring phase, where the goal is to balance the probing overhead with the cost associated with longer failure detection times.

We formulate a general model for the underlying fundamental subset-test scheduling problem. We unify the treatment of schedulers and cost...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 October 2014
Type: Technical report
Publisher: Elsevier
Number: MSR-TR-2014-113

Garbage collectors are {xact or conservative. An exact collector identifies all references precisely and may move referents and update references, whereas a conservative collector treats one or more of stack, register, and heap references as ambiguous. Ambiguous references constrain collectors in two ways. (1) Since they may be pointers, the collectors must retain referents. (2) Since they may be values, the collectors cannot modify them, pinning their referents.

We explore conservative...

##### Publication details
Date: 1 October 2014
Type: Article
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