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An Interview with the NSDI '15 Program Co-Chairs

Julie Miller, USENIX's Marketing Communications Manager, recently interviewed Paul Barham and Arvind Krishnamurthy, the NSDI '15 Program Co-Chairs, about the upcoming conference. NSDI '15 takes place May 4-6, 2015, in Oakland, CA. Early bird registration rates are available through April 13, 2015, and grant applications for women and students will be accepted through March 30, 2015.



JBM: Who should attend NSDI, and why?

PB and AK: We believe that NSDI is relevant to a broad spectrum of researchers and developers.

  • It is relevant to both academia and industry.  Our program comprises of a healthy mix of papers focused on fundamental research (e.g., principled approaches to proving correctness or designing efficient systems) as well as engineering practice (e.g., developing industrial systems that work at scale).  It thus provides a venue for both academics and industry practitioners to interact and learn more about what is at the cutting edge of systems design and practice.
  • It is relevant to practitioners of multiple disciplines such as distributed systems, networking, wireless systems, formal analysis, and applications of programming languages to networked systems.
  • It provides a venue for fresh graduate students to learn about what is required in formulating and executing a successful research project.
  • It provides a venue for graduating students to identify future collaborations and research areas to explore.

JBM: What were your goals when you assembled the 2015 program?

PB and AK: We wanted to put together an inclusive program that expanded the number of accepted papers to reflect the breadth and quality of networking research currently being performed.  We accepted 42 papers (a record number) which included 6 operational track papers from industry (also a record number). 

JBM: The operational track was introduced last year, and you’ve made it part of 2015 program as well. Can you give me some insight into why you believe it belongs at NSDI?

PB and AK: The operational track is a medium for industry practitioners to describe systems that were built for production use.  The systems might be based on ideas that were well known to the community, but whose application in a real-world context resulted in new challenges that needed to be handled.  It helps the community validate known techniques as to whether they work at scale. It also provides academics a clearer picture of real world problems that are being handled by these operational systems and will likely motivate them to design newer and more effective solutions for handling these problems in the future. 

JBM: Which papers are you most excited to see presented?

PB and AK: Definitely the industry track papers.  There are also many interesting papers on formal methods, SDN solutions, and new approaches to designing distributed systems. 

JBM: What do you want attendees to walk away with?

PB and AK:

  • A broad perspective on the current state of the art in networking and distributed systems
  • The applicability of new formal methods and compilation techniques in areas such as SDNs and datacenter networking
  • An appreciation of the scale and practical issues faced by networked systems deployed inside today’s industries

JBM: Is there anything else that you want readers to know about this event?

PB and AK: NSDI is the premier venue that integrates systems and networking research.  It is therefore of interest to researchers and practitioners in both areas.