MIT Cloud Workshop


The Industry-Academia Partnership (IAP) held an IAP Cloud Workshop at MIT in the in the Grier Room on the MIT campus in Cambridge, MA on Friday September 26th, with the theme "Meeting the Future Needs of the Data Center and Cloud".

Platinum Sponsors of the MIT Cloud Workshop

Many Open Source initiatives and solutions were represented including Apache Spark, Massachusetts Open Cloud, OPEN COMPUTE PROJECT, OpenPOWER, OpenStack, PURPLE FOUNDATION, and Ubuntu.

Universities and companies participating included BOSTON UNIVERSITY, CANONICAL, CAVIUM, CISCO, FACEBOOK, HARVARD, IBM, IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES, MIT, OPENSTACK, RACKSPACE, SAMSUNG, and SANDISK.

Comments from Academic Participants

Professor Daniel Sanchez is a member of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and holds the TIBCO Career Development Professorship. He is an IAP Board Advisor and co-organizer of the Workshop.  He commented, "This was our first IAP Cloud Workshop at MIT, so it was great to see the strong turnout by industry, the MIT staff and students in CSAIL and EECS, as well as from our collaborators at Boston University and Harvard.”

Arvind is the Johnson Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and ACM, and a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Arvind commented  “It was a very enjoyable and productive workshop. Interactions between industry and academia like these are critical to the university experience for our students, as well as informing future research directions.”

Professor Matei Zaharia joined MIT in 2014 as an assistant professor, coming from UC Berkeley, where he recently received his Ph.D. in computer science. Prof. Zaharia is the creator of the popular big data analytics solution Apache Spark, and the CTO of Databricks. He stated, I was excited by the attendee turnout and by the breadth of both academic and industry speakers and topics at the workshop."


MIT Professor Daniel Sanchez addresses a full house in the morning session for his keynote
"Efficient Cloud Computing with Highly Utilized, Latency-Critical Systems"


Comments from Industry Participants

Lew Tucker, Vice President and CTO, Cloud Computing at Cisco, and Vice Chairman OpenStack Foundation, commented, “I come to these gatherings with a strong open source perspective, so I was delighted to see the broad participation by OpenStack proponents from both industry and academia like Mass Open Cloud, as well as other open source solutions like Apache Spark that often stand on an OpenStack deployment.”

Dr. John Busch, Vice President and SanDisk Fellow, stated, “The interactions with students and professors were extremely informative, and the caliber of the attendees and speakers at this IAP Workshop was equally impressive. The student poster session was another highlight for me.”

Dr. Shubu Mukherjee, Distinguished Engineer at Cavium, stated, “These IAP Workshops are a great venue to reconnect with both industry and academic colleagues, get updates on the latest developments, and to get to know and spend time with many talented students.”

Charlie Manese, Solutions Engineer at Facebook, commented, “The Open Compute Project was founded in 2011 to enable a faster pace of innovation and a stronger focus on efficiency and sustainability in the development of data center technologies.  We appreciated the opportunity to update attendees from industry and academia about OCP’s recent progress.”

Dr. Brad McCredie, Vice President and IBM Fellow, and President OpenPOWER Initiative, “It was a great session and all of us at IBM came away with a stronger sense of the industry forces at work and the approaches we could consider together with the academic community. I'm glad we're part of the conversation and looking forward to future IAP Workshops.”


Farhad Tabrizi, Senor Vice President, Samsung commented, “This was my fourth IAP Workshop, so obviously I put a priority on these events, and I do so because I always come away with some new relationships and ideas that will positively impact our work supporting cloud computing solutions at Samsung.”

Karen Field, Senor Vice President, UBM and EETimes, “The quality and breadth of the agenda at the MIT IAP Workshop was very impressive.  This is a terrific opportunity to dialog and network with leaders in the field who have a stake in developing technologies to support the rapidly evolving data center.”

Dr. Jim Ballingall, Executive Director of the IAP summed up, “According to university program rankings such as U.S. News and World Report, MIT is tied for the ranking of the number 1 computer science program in the world. So, we were thrilled with the high turnout by the MIT staff and students, as well as the high level of industry participation.”


Workshop attendees listen as Prof. Matei Zaharia, CTO Databricks, presents General-purpose Cluster Computing with Spark".  Apache Spark is the fastest growing big data analytics solution, passing Hadoop with the most open source contributors of any Apache big data solution.


Speakers from industry and academia described their R&D efforts to meet the future needs of cloud computing, spanning the full scope of hardware (servers, storage and networking) and software solutions (operating systems, virtualization, cloud orchestration software, and big data analytics), including the following:
  • Prof. Arvind – MIT – “BlueDBM: A Distributed NAND Flash Store for Accelerating Complex Big Data Queries in the Cloud”
  • Prof. Daniel Sanchez – MIT – "Efficient Cloud Computing with Highly Utilized, Latency-Critical Systems"
  • Prof. Matei Zaharia – MIT and Databricks – “General-purpose Cluster Computing with Spark"
  • Xiangyao Yu and Prof. Srini Devadas – MIT – “Database Management on 1000-Core Processors”
  • Neha Narula and Prof. Robert Morris   – MIT – “Phase Reconciliation for Contended In-Memory Transactions”
  • Dr. Jan Balewski – MIT – “Performance and Flexibility of an OpenStack Cluster for Scientific Workloads"
  • Prof. Orran Krieger – Boston University – “The Massachusetts Open Cloud Initiative - A New Model for Cloud Innovation”
  • Max Morana – Canonical-Ubuntu  – “The Future of Datacenter Orchestration: Realizing Service Oriented Architecture”
  • Dr. Shubu Mukherjee – Cavium –  “ThunderX: Workload Optimized Processors for Next Generation Data Center & Cloud”
  • Robert Broberg – Cisco –  “Identity and Trust in the Cloud as Pre-requisites for Security"
  • Charlie Manese – Facebook – “Facebook's Efficiency and Scale: Cold Storage"
  • Dr. Brad McCredie – IBM – “The OpenPOWER Ecosystem: Meeting the Demands of the 2020 Data Center”
  • Majid Bemanian – Imagination Technologies – “Network Function Virtualization in a Multi-Tenant Environment”
  • Farhad Tabrizi – Samsung – “The Future of Tiered Memory Architecture for the Cloud”
  • Dr. John Busch – SanDisk  – “Trends in Nonvolatile Memory and Exploitive Software”


MIT Ph.D. student Po-An Tsai receives the Best Graduate Student Poster Award from Professor Daniel Sanchez, Dr. John Busch SanDisk Vice President and Fellow, and Robert Broberg, Cisco Distinguished Engineer. Tsai is developing novel on-chip caching algorithms to improve CPU performance and power efficiency. He received a $500 cash award for his achievement.
(Left to right: Tsai, Broberg, Busch, Sanchez).



Students from MIT, Harvard and Boston University share and discuss results during the poster session with Prof. Daniel Sanchez (left background) that ran in parallel with the Career Fair.  Cavium, Cisco, Facebook, SanDisk, and Ubuntu hosted informational tables for students at the Career Fair.