IEEE International Conference on Cloud Networking
27–29 November 2024 // Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Irene Zhang, Microsoft Research

Irene Zhang

Title: The Demikernel Datapath Architecture for Microsecond-scale Datacenter Systems


Datacenter systems and I/O devices now run at single-digit microsecond latencies, requiring nanosecond-scale operating systems. Traditional kernel-based operating systems impose an unaffordable overhead, so recent kernel-bypass OSes (e.g., Arrakis, Ix) and libraries (e.g., Caladan, eRPC) eliminate the OS kernel from the I/O datapath. However, these systems do not offer a general-purpose datapath OS replacement that meet the needs of microsecond-scale systems.  As a result, while kernel-bypass hardware is widely available in the datacenter, it is not widely used.

This talk summarizes Demikernel, a flexible datapath OS and architecture designed for heterogenous kernel-bypass devices and microsecond-scale datacenter systems. Demikernel supports a variety of kernel-bypass hardware, including DPDK, RDMA, as well as software bypass solutions like io_uring. To support microsecond-scale operation, Demikernel includes a new nanosecond-scale TCP stack, written in Rust and proposes new memory management, CPU scheduling and network abstractions. Demikernel is currently used by Bing and will go into production with Azure services later this year.


Irene Zhang is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research.  Her work focuses on datacenter operating systems and distributed systems, especially making new datacenter hardware technologies more widely usable by highly-demanding datacenter applications.  Irene completed her PhD in 2017 at the University of Washington, where her PhD thesis focused on distributed systems that span mobile devices and cloud servers. Her thesis work received the ACM SIGOPS Dennis Ritchie doctoral dissertation award and the UW Allen School William Chan Memorial dissertation award.  Before her PhD, Irene was a member of the virtual machine monitor group at VMware, where she worked on memory resource management and virtual machine checkpointing.


Fabio Kon, Universidade de São Paulo

Title: The Role of Research Software and Research Software Engineers in Science


In the 21st Century, research software has become a ubiquitous tool for scientific research in all fields. It has accelerated the advancement of science and is now an essential means of assuring the reproducibility of results and promoting open science. Fostering the development of robust and sustainable research software is key to building a solid international infrastructure for the science of the future. Research Software Engineers (RSE) are professionals who ensure the quality and robustness of research software. Nevertheless, it is often overlooked by most research institutions and funding agencies, leading to a waste of resources, duplication of work, and lack of long-term sustainability, compromising the advancement of science. In particular, in Cloud Networking research, RSEs can play a crucial role in helping to produce quality software that can be reused across the entire research community. In this case, the RSE must possess a few specific skills. In this keynote, I will give an overview of the current state of Research Software and RSEs, discussing the progress that the scientific community has made so far as well as the challenges that lie ahead of us.



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