LISA21 Call for Participation

Sponsored by USENIX, the Advanced Computing Systems Association.

LISA21 will take place on June 1–3, 2021, as a virtual event.

Important Dates

  • Proposals due: Tuesday, February 23, 2021, 8:59 pm PST
  • Notification to presenters: Thursday, March 25, 2021
  • Program materials (descriptions, bios, etc.) due from presenters: Tuesday, April 6, 2021
  • Pre-recorded videos due from presenters: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
    • If edits are needed, you will be notified by Tuesday, May 18, 2021, and will need to submit your changes within one week from that date (Tuesday, May 25, 2021).

Both presenters and organizers may withdraw or decline proposals for any reason, even after initial acceptance. Submissions must come from the speaker. LISA does not accept submissions made through PR firms and other third parties.


Computer system engineering, administration, operations–whatever your organization calls it–has evolved beyond merely making systems run. Today's systems engineers design, develop, and run more complex, optimized, and distributed systems at all levels of scale. Come learn the skills and knowledge to get the most from your systems at LISA21.

LISA wants to help you share your stories and experience. Whether you're an infrastructure engineer, system administrator, SRE, academic, or developer, we highlight the best in systems engineering, and the people who make it all come together.

Call for Participation

LISA is soliciting proposals that demonstrate the present and future of computer systems engineering in all of its forms. Submissions should inspire and motivate attendees toward action that improves their day-to-day work, as well as the tech industry as a whole.

We welcome and encourage participation from all individuals, including people that are underrepresented in, or excluded from, technology: people of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, students, veterans, and others with unique characteristics, whether or not they are protected by law. Similarly, we welcome participants from diverse professional roles: QA testers, security teams, DBAs, network administrators, compliance experts, UX designers, government employees, and scientists. Regardless of who you are or the job title you hold, if you are a technologist who faces unique challenges, we encourage you to be a part of LISA21.

LISA only accepts vendor-neutral proposals. If you wish to promote or pitch a product at LISA, please contact the USENIX Sponsorship Department about exhibition and sponsor opportunities.


We are looking for proposals to fit into a virtual conference. All talks will be pre-recorded videos and scheduled like a normal conference for attendees to watch. During presentations, speakers will be able to interact with the audience in real-time! More details will follow upon acceptance of your proposal in the submission system.

Due to the nature of a virtual conference, we will not have workshops this year.

Below are some ideas of what you or your team could submit.


40-minute talk (with Q&A to follow in dedicated LISA Slack channel)

Suggested Topics

We welcome submissions on topics including but not limited to:

  • If you work in a hybrid bare metal/cloud environment, how have you bridged the two technologies?
  • How do you overcome the unique constraints of operating systems in your environment?
  • What recent changes in your environment have impacted the way you work, and what significant changes do you expect going forward?
  • Tell us about your wild debug stories that took you into the internals of complex systems.
  • Given all the reliability problems at hand, and the limited time to focus on them, how do you prioritize what to work on?
  • What are new and unexpected types of incidents you're encountering? How are you learning from and adapting to them?
  • If you work with large HPC systems, how do you manage them?
  • If you've sent systems to extreme environments (deserts, underwater, outer space), how did those unique environmental challenges impact the design and operation of your systems?
  • How have you incorporated machine learning into your work?
  • Where does our industry need to focus to continue growing talent? What skills gaps do you see in job applicants?
  • As many companies look towards a hybrid local/remote or fully remote working model, what skills and tools are required to make our work easier?
  • How do you protect your systems from supply-chain and other types of attacks?
  • The last year has also put a significant financial strain on organizations. How have you streamlined your technical operations?
  • Core principles talks are also welcome. Talks in this track will focus on providing an in-depth understanding of how the underlying technologies used by LISA attendees function, and why it's important to know these details when supporting and scaling their infrastructure.

Core Principles

For this track, we're looking for a number of topics, including but not limited to:

  • Performance (e.g.,hardware design, HPC, bottlenecks)
  • Observability (e.g., monitoring proprietary systems/black boxes, planning for growth, etc.)
  • Network (e.g., IP protocols, layer 2 networks, BGP)
  • Firmware (e.g., Open Source Firmware, UEFI)
  • Security (e.g., TPMs, Hardware Security Modules, transport encryption, filesystem encryption, data management)


LISA is a gathering of engineers who care deeply about all aspects of systems including design, development, optimization, and security. Our purpose is to be inclusive as we bring together ideas representative of our diverse community, whether its members are focusing on a global scale, launching new products or ideas, or pivoting their approach to united software and systems engineering. LISA challenges both those new to the profession as well as those who have been involved in the profession for years. The conference culture is built upon respectful collaboration amongst all participants through critical thought, deep technical insights, continuous improvement, and innovation.

Code of Conduct

LISA is an inclusive and equitable space that welcomes the perspectives of everyone. Our Code of Conduct for USENIX Events and Online Community Spaces specifies our commitment to providing a safe and enjoyable event experience for all event participants and a welcoming environment for free discussion of ideas. We do not tolerate harassment of event participants in any form.


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