VMware Announces the 2016 Systems Research Award Recipient

Matei Zaharia

Matei Zaharia, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University and VMware’s 2016 Systems Research Award Recipient

VMware is pleased to announce the 2016 recipient of the early career Systems Research Award:  Matei Zaharia, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. Professor Zaharia’s university will receive a gift of US $100,000 in support of his research on programming models and systems for large-scale data processing.

Professor Zaharia has been widely recognized for his early work on Apache Spark and Mesos, which have developed into active open-source communities and are extensively used within the industry. Spark provides a unified programming model based on MapReduce for a broad range of data-intensive applications, meanwhile leveraging an array of performance optimizations. Mesos addresses the problem of scaling data center workloads using containers, now widely deployed in microservice architectures for large clusters. Later research on Tachyon looked at reliable, memory-speed storage for cluster computing. Professor Zaharia received numerous awards for his work, including recognitions from:

  • The Association for Computer Machinery (ACM)
  • USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communications (SIGCOMM)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Management of Data (SIGMOD)

His later work went on to include new resource-scheduling algorithms and novel applications of economic theory to computer systems.

Colleagues of Professor Zaharia observe that he has a remarkable ability to identify the key issues for improving performance and productivity, to make the right tradeoffs in system design, and to understand how a series of optimizations across a pipeline can be more powerful than individual component optimizations. Professor Zaharia’s recent work looks at private messaging systems and a unifying programming model for heterogeneous hardware in order to enable more powerful optimizations across widely used data analytics libraries. Recent work incorporating machine learning, scheduling, and performance has appeared in USENIX Symposium on NSDI, the International Conference on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB), the Annual Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS), ACM SIGMOD and other top conferences.   

VMware’s System Research Award highlights early career faculty who have made exceptional research contributions to one or more emerging areas of Computer Science, and who have achieved notable impact with their work. This year, the selection committee was chaired by Professor Mike Stonebraker (MIT) and included Professor Greg Ganger (CMU), Professor James Larus (EPFL), Chris Ramming (VMware), Professor Jennifer Rexford (Princeton), Pratap Subrahmanyam (VMware) and Raj Yavatkar (VMware). VMware sees the award as one way to support and give back to the academic research community, which plays a crucial role in exploring new technology.

–David Ott, Research Director, VMware Academic Programs