- AboutThis should describe the systems research collaboration, and present the overall research goals of the new group.
- PeopleHere are the different labs in the SRC…
- PublicationsA page where you will find categorized publications!
- ProjectsA page where you will find our projects
- ResourcesVarious resources for prospective students, current students, alumni. Maybe put something here about life in NYC and at Columbia…
Publications from 2009
Proceedings of the 5th ACM Conference on emerging Networking EXperiments and Technologies (CoNEXT 2009), December 2009
Peer-to-Peer file-sharing applications suffer from a fundamental problem of unfairness. Free-riders cause slower down load times for others by contributing little or no upload bandwidth while consuming much download bandwidth. Previous attempts to address this fair bandwidth allocation problem suffer from slow peer discovery, inaccurate predictions of neighboring peersâ€™ bandwidth allocations, un derutilization of bandwidth, and complex parameter tuning. We present FairTorrent, a new deficit-based distributed algorithm that accurately rewards peers in accordance with their contribution. A FairTorrent peer simply uploads the next data block to a peer to whom it owes the most data as measured by a deficit counter. FairTorrent is resilient to exploitation by free-riders and strategic peers, is simple to im plement, requires no bandwidth over-allocation, no predic tion of peersâ€™ rates, no centralized control, and no parameter tuning. We implemented FairTorrent in a BitTorrent client without modifications to the BitTorrent protocol, and evaluated its performance against other widely-used BitTorrent clients. Our results show that FairTorrent provides up to two orders of magnitude better fairness, up to five times better download times for contributing peers, and 60% to 100% better performance on average in live BitTorrent swarms.
Proceedings of the 11th IEEE International Symposium on Multimedia (ISM 2009), December 2009
We present MediaPod, a portable system that al- lows mobile users to maintain the same persistent, personalized multimedia desktop environment on any available computer. Regardless of which computer is being used, MediaPod pro- vides a consistent multimedia desktop session, maintaining all of a userâ€™s applications, documents and configuration settings. This is achieved by leveraging rapid improvements in capacity, cost, and size of portable storage devices. MediaPod provides a virtualization and checkpoint-restart mechanism that de- couples a desktop environment and its applications from the host, enabling multimedia desktop sessions to be suspended to portable storage, carried around, and resumed from the storage device on another computer. MediaPod virtualization also isolates desktop sessions from the host, protecting the privacy of the user and preventing malicious applications from damaging the host. We have implemented a Linux MediaPod prototype and demonstrate its ability to quickly suspend and resume multimedia desktop sessions, enabling a seamless computing experience for mobile users as they move among computers.
Proceedings of the 23rd Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA 2009), November 2009
Modern computing systems are complex and difficult to administer, making them more prone to system admin- istration faults. Faults can occur simply due to mistakes in the process of administering a complex system. These mistakes can make the system insecure or unavailable. Faults can also occur due to a malicious act of the system administrator. Systems provide little protection against system administrators who install a backdoor or other- wise hide their actions. To prevent these types of sys- tem administration faults, we created ISE-T (I See Ev- erything Twice), a system that applies the two-person control model to system administration. ISE-T requires two separate system administrators to perform each ad- ministration task. ISE-T then compares the results of the two administratorsâ€™ actions for equivalence. ISE-T only applies the results of the actions to the real sys- tem if they are equivalent. This provides a higher level of assurance that administration tasks are completed in a manner that will not introduce faults into the system. While the two-person control model is expensive, it is a natural fit for many financial, government, and mili- tary systems that require higher levels of assurance. We implemented a prototype ISE-T system for Linux using virtual machines and a unioning file system. Using this system, we conducted a real user study to test its ability to capture changes performed by seperate system admin- istrators and compare them for equivalence. Our results show that ISE-T is effective at determining equivalence for many common administration tasks, even when ad- ministrators perform those tasks in different ways.
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Mobile Ubiquitous Computing, Systems, Services, and Technologies (UBICOMM 2009), October 2009
We present GamePod, a portable system that enables mo- bile users to use the same persistent, gaming environment on any available computer. No matter what computer is being used, GamePod provides a consistent gaming en- vironment, maintaining all of a userâ€™s games, including active game state. This is achieved by leveraging rapid improvements in capacity, cost, and size of portable stor- age devices. GamePod provides a middleware layer that enables virtualization and checkpoint/restart functional- ity that decouples the gaming environment from a host machine. This enables gaming sessions to be suspended to portable storage, carried around, and resumed from the storage device on another computer. GamePodâ€™s middle- ware layer also isolates gaming sessions from the host, protecting the host by preventing malicious executable content from damaging the host. We have implemented a Linux GamePod prototype and demonstrate its ability to quickly suspend and resume gaming sessions, enabling a seamless gaming experience for mobile users as they move among computers.
Proceedings of the 12th Information Security Conference (ISC 2009), September 2009
While peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing is a powerful and cost-effective content distribution model, most paid-for digital-content providers (CPs) use di- rect download to deliver their content. CPs are hesitant to rely on a P2P distribu- tion model because it introduces a number of security concerns including content pollution by malicious peers, and lack of enforcement of authorized downloads. Furthermore, because users communicate directly with one another, the users can easily form illegal file-sharing clusters to exchange copyrighted content. Such ex- change could hurt the content providersâ€™ profits. We present a P2P system TP2P, where we introduce a notion of trusted auditors (TAs). TAs are P2P peers that police the system by covertly monitoring and taking measures against misbehav- ing peers. This policing allows TP2P to enable a stronger security model making P2P a viable alternative for the distribution of paid digital content. Through anal- ysis and simulation, we show the effectiveness of even a small number of TAs at policing the system. In a system with as many as 60% of misbehaving users, even a small number of TAs can detect 99% of illegal cluster formation. We de- velop a simple economic model to show that even with such a large presence of malicious nodes, TP2P can improve CPâ€™s profits (which could translate to user savings) by 62% to 122%, even while assuming conservative estimates of content and bandwidth costs. We implemented TP2P as a layer on top of BitTorrent and demonstrated experimentally using PlanetLab that our system provides trusted P2P file sharing with negligible performance overhead.
Proceedings of the 12th Information Security Conference (ISC 2009), September 2009
Continued improvements in network bandwidth, cost, and ubiquitous access are enabling service providers to host desktop computing environments to address the complexity, cost, and mobility limitations of todayâ€™s personal com- puting infrastructure. However, distributed denial of service attacks can deny use of such services to users. We present A2 M, a secure and attack-resilient desktop computing hosting infrastructure. A2 M combines a stateless and secure commu- nication protocol, a single-hop Indirection-based network (IBN) and a remote display architecture to provide mobile users with continuous access to their desk- top computing sessions. Our architecture protects both the hosting infrastructure and the clientâ€™s connections against a wide range of service disruption attacks. Unlike any other DoS protection system, A2 M takes advantage of its low-latency remote display mechanisms and asymmetric traffic characteristics by using multi- path routing to send a small number of replicas of each packet transmitted from client to server. This packet replication through different paths, diversifies the client-server communication, boosting system resiliency and reducing end-to- end latency. Our analysis and experimental results on PlanetLab demonstrate that A2 M significantly increases the hosting infrastructureâ€™s attack resilience even for wireless scenarios. Using conservative ISP bandwidth data, we show that we can protect against attacks involving thousands (150, 000) attackers, while providing good performance for multimedia and web applications and basic GUI interac- tions even when up to 30% and 50%, respectively, of indirection nodes become unresponsive.
Proceedings of the 18th USENIX Security Symposium, August 2009
Today's technical and legal landscape presents formidable challenges to personal data privacy. First, our increasing reliance on Web services causes personal data to be cached, copied, and archived by third parties, often without our knowledge or control. Second, the disclosure of private data has become commonplace due to carelessness, theft, or legal actions.
Our research seeks to protect the privacy of past, archived data - such as copies of emails maintained by an email provider - against accidental, malicious, and legal attacks. Specifically, we wish to ensure that all copies of certain data become unreadable after a userspecified time, without any specific action on the part of a user, and even if an attacker obtains both a cached copy of that data and the userâ€™s cryptographic keys and passwords.
This paper presents Vanish, a system that meets this challenge through a novel integration of cryptographic techniques with global-scale, P2P, distributed hash tables (DHTs). We implemented a proof-of-concept Vanish prototype to use both the million-plus-node Vuze Bit- Torrent DHT and the restricted-membership OpenDHT. We evaluate experimentally and analytically the functionality, security, and performance properties of Vanish, demonstrating that it is practical to use and meets the privacy-preserving goals described above. We also describe two applications that we prototyped on Vanish: a Firefox plugin for Gmail and other Web sites and a Vanishing File application.
Proceedings of the Workshop on Hot Topics in Cloud Computing (HotCloud), June 2009
Web services are undergoing an exciting transition from in-house data centers to public clouds. Attracted by automatic scalability and extremely low compute, storage, and management costs, Web services are increasingly opting for public cloud deployment over traditional in-house datacenters. For example, Amazon's S3 provides storage and backup services for numerous applications, a number of mature services have recently migrated to Amazon EC2, and many startups are adopting the cloud as their sole viable solution to achieve scale. While predictions regarding cloud computing vary, most of the community agrees that public clouds will continue to grow in the number and importance of their tenants.
This paper focuses on a new opportunity introduced by the cloud environment: specifically, rich data sharing among independent Web services that are co-located within the same cloud. In the future, we expect that a small number of giant-scale shared clouds - such as Amazon AWS, Google AppEngine, or Microsoft Azure - will result in an unprecedented environment where thousands of independent and mutually distrustful Web services share the same runtime environment, storage system, and cloud infrastructure. One could even imagine that most of the Web will someday be served from a handful of giant-scale clouds. What will that new sharedcloud environment look like? What are the opportunities and challenges created by this integration and consolidation? While challenges raised by the multi-tenant environment, such as isolation, security, and privacy, have received significant recent attention, we believe that identifying untapped opportunities is equally important, as it enables innovation and advancement in the new shared-cloud world.
Proceedings of the Sixth Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI '09), April 2009
MoDist is the first model checker designed for transparently checking unmodified distributed systems running on unmodified operating systems. It achieves this transparency via a novel architecture: a thin interposition layer exposes all actions in a distributed system and a centralized, OS-independent model checking engine explores these actions systematically. We made MoDist practical through three techniques: an execution engine to simulate consistent, deterministic executions and failures; a virtual clock mechanism to avoid false positives and false negatives; and a state exploration framework to incorporate heuristics for efficient error detection.
We implemented MoDist on Windows and applied it to three well-tested distributed systems: Berkeley DB, a widely used open source database; MPS, a deployed Paxos implementation; and PacificA, a primary-backup replication protocol implementation. MoDist found 35 bugs in total. Most importantly, it found protocol-level bugs (i.e., flaws in the core distributed protocols) in every system checked: 10 in total, including 2 in Berkeley DB, 2 in MPS, and 6 in PacificA.
Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Symposium on Performance Analysis of Systems and Software (ISPASS 2009), April 2009
Developing CPU scheduling algorithms and under- standing their impact in practice can be difficult and time consum- ing due to the need to modify and test operating system kernel code and measure the resulting performance on a consistent workload of real applications. To address this problem, we have developed WARP, a trace-driven virtualized scheduler execution environment that can dramatically simplify and speed the development of CPU schedulers. WARP is easy to use as it can run unmodified kernel scheduling code and can be used with standard user-space debugging and performance monitoring tools. It accomplishes this by virtualizing operating system and hardware events to decouple kernel scheduling code from its native operating system and hardware environment. A simple kernel tracing toolkit can be used with WARP to capture traces of all CPU scheduling related events from a real system. WARP can then replay these traces in its virtualized environment with the same timing characteristics as in the real system. Traces can be used with different schedulers to provide accurate comparisons of scheduling performance for a given application workload. We have implemented a WARP Linux prototype. Our results show that WARP can use application traces captured from its toolkit to accurately reflect the scheduling behavior of the real Linux operating system. Furthermore, testing scheduler behavior using WARP with application traces can be two orders