ACM and Infosys Foundation Honor Innovator in Software System Performance, Scalability, and Security
March 29, 2011 —
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Related Search Term(s): ACM, 2010 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award
TECHNOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT
Kaashoek and his collaborators at the MIT Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group defined a new operating system structure, the Exokernel, a lightweight operating system kernel, which moved functionality out of the operating system and into applications without significant loss of performance. Their goal was to eliminate constraints on how application designers can use a computer’s resources, giving applications direct control over functions that allow hardware and software to communicate. The Exokernel innovation enabled programmers to improve program performance in enterprise-oriented software systems.
In papers describing the building blocks for peer-to-peer applications known as distributed hash tables (DHTs), Kaashoek and his colleagues showed how DHTs could be used to enhance both the scalability and robustness of distributed systems. This innovation has led to the establishment of DHTs as a core component of many products including peer-to-peer file sharing systems and content distribution systems. It also resulted in the creation of the Infrastructure for Resilient Internet Systems (IRIS) project, funded by the National Science Foundation and co-led by Kaashoek, which used DHT technology to address vulnerabilities of the Internet and other mission-critical networked applications to malicious attack.
Using Decentralized Information Flow Control (DIFC), Kaashoek and his colleagues developed an approach to computer security that provides an effective means for preserving user privacy in widely deployed commercial systems. It allows applications writers to control how data flows between the pieces of an application and the outside world, protecting a large array of privacy sensitive operations like banking servers, medical records processors, and legal software.
Kaashoek was Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Sightpath, Inc., a provider of software that lets companies distribute high-quality videos easily on their networks. The company was acquired by Cisco systems in 2000. He also helped found Mazu Networks, Inc., which employs innovative network behavioral analysis to enhance the network security of global enterprises. Kaashoek served as a director of Mazu Networks until its acquisition by Riverbed Technology, Inc. in 2009.