Computer Systems provides the foundation upon which all other software applications rely. The goal of systems research is to develop the key abstractions and services that enable software to be efficiently and portably run on hardware. Areas of interest to the systems group include operating systems, computer networks, parallel and distributed computation, and computer security. The systems group tackles problems from both theoretical and experimental approaches. To support our experimental work, the group maintains several laboratories in the Computer Science department and in UMIACS.
The Laboratory for Parallel and Distributed systems includes a collection of parallel computers and clusters to support systems research. Current equipment includes a 24 processor SPARC SMP, 8 processor IBM Power 4 system, and a 128 processor Myrinet-connected Linux cluster. The Distributed Systems Software Laboratory contains flexible networking environment to allow students to configure networking switches to allow for experimental research. In addition, the laboratory includes about 20 machines to support experiments.
The history of the systems group at Maryland dates back more than 30 years. One early member of the group, Yaohan Chu, wrote the book Computer Organization and Microprogramming which was the first major book on the subject. This book was used extensively at many universities and colleges. David Mills was an early researcher in computer networks. He set up an ARPANet IMP (predecessor of the current Internet) in his basement using a PDP 11/45 (an early mini-computer). At the time, this was the only full ARPANet node not located at a University or a Government facility. In the late 1970's, Chuck Rieger and Mark Weiser built ZMOB, an early parallel computer based on commodity microprocessors. The system consisted of 128 Z-80 processors.
Students and PostDocs from the systems group have gone on to faculty and industry positions around the world. Former graduate students in faculty positions include: Gagan Agrawal (Ohio State University), Suman Banerjee (University of Wisconsin), Ugur Cetintemel (Brown University), Ibrahim Matta (Boston University), Bongki Moon (University of Arizona), Ron Larsen (Dean of College of Information Science, University of Pittsburgh), Sang Son (University of Virginia), Dave Levin (University of Maryland), and Aaron Schulman (University of California San Diego).
Many of our former students have gone on to careers at major research labs including AT&T Labs (Vijay Gopalakrishnan, Seungjoon Lee), Google (Ruggero Morselli), and IBM T.J.Watson (Henrique Andrade, I-Hsin Chung, Andrzej Kochut, Kyung Ryu). The group also has a rich history of PostDoc researchers who have gone on to successful careers. For example, Anurag Acharya and Guy Edjlali are now at Google. The Systems group receives support from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, and the National Science Foundation. Additional support is provided by industrial partners including DoCoMo, Fujitsu, IBM, Microsoft, Samsung, and Sun Microsystems.