CS 7934 — Computer Systems Seminar, Fall 2020

Fridays, 2:00–3:30 PM, Interactive Video Conference (IVC)

Instructor: Eric Eide


Week Date Topic(s) Facilitator(s) Paper(s)
1 8/28 Eide organizational meeting
2 9/4 software debloating Eide DECAF: Automatic, Adaptive De-bloating and Hardening of COTS Firmware. Jake Christensen et al. In USENIX Security ’20, Aug. 2020.
3 9/11 non-volatile memory Ricci Twizzler: A Data-Centric OS for Non-Volatile Memory. Daniel Bittman et al. In ATC ’20, Jul. 2020.
4 9/18 secure software development Maricq Understanding Security Mistakes Developers Make: Qualitative Analysis from Build It, Break It, Fix It. Daniel Votipka et al. In USENIX Security ’20, Aug. 2020.
5 9/25 microkernel design Johnson Harmonizing Performance and Isolation in Microkernels with Efficient Intra-kernel Isolation and Communication. Jinyu Gu et al. In ATC ’20, Jul. 2020.
6 10/2 virtual RDMA Ford FreeFlow: Software-based Virtual RDMA Networking for Containerized Clouds. Daehyeok Kim et al. In NSDI ’19, Feb. 2019.
7 10/9 storage system tuning Duplyakin Carver: Finding Important Parameters for Storage System Tuning. Zhen Cao et al. In FAST ’20, Feb. 2020.
8 10/16 network performance isolation Walker PicNIC: Predictable Virtualized NIC. Praveen Kumar et al. In SIGCOMM ’19, Aug. 2019.
9 10/23 adaptive storage function placement Bhardwaj Adaptive Placement for In-memory Storage Functions. Ankit Bhardwaj et al. In ATC ’20, Jul. 2020.
10 10/30 web acceleration At 10:00 AM:
Oblique: Accelerating Page Loads Using Symbolic Execution. James Mickens. Presentation in the UMass CS Systems Lunch, Oct. 30, 2020.
11 11/6 reliable replication Lee Hermes: A Fast, Fault-Tolerant and Linearizable Replication Protocol. Antonios Katsarakis et al. In ASPLOS ’20, Mar. 2020.
12 11/13 software-defined radio Webb SparSDR: Sparsity-proportional Backhaul and Compute for SDRs. Moein Khazraee et al. In MobiSys ’19, Jun. 2019.
13 11/20 DBMS fuzzing Eide Testing Database Engines via Pivoted Query Synthesis. Manuel Rigger and Zhendong Su. In OSDI ’20, Nov. 2020.
14 11/27 no meeting — Thanksgiving break
15 12/4 hypervisor fuzzing Remes NYX: Greybox Hypervisor Fuzzing using Fast Snapshots and Affine Types. Sergej Schumilo et al. In USENIX Security ’21, Aug. 2021. To appear.


The fall 2020 offering of CS 7934 will cover a variety of systems topics, with an eye toward two goals.

The first is to increase participants' familiarity with recent and important results in the area of computer systems research. Attendees will read and discuss papers from recent and imminent top-tier systems conferences: e.g., SOSP, OSDI, NSDI, SIGCOMM, FAST, systems-related security conferences, and so on. Attendees will typically discuss one paper each week. Papers will be selected for their relevance to participants' research or upcoming Utah visitors. In contrast to some recent offerings of the seminar, there is no preset “focus topic” for fall 2020. One can anticipate, however, that the semester will include discussions about operating systems, distributed systems, cloud computing, datacenters, networking, and security.

The second is to be a venue for student presentations. Every student participating in the seminar will be required to lead at least one meeting during the semester. This may be a “formal” research presentation—ideally of a student's current work—or it may be an analysis of the research papers chosen for a seminar meeting.

CS 7934 is often called “the CSL seminar.” The name CSL is historic.

Mailing list

To get on the class mailing list, use Mailman to subscribe to csl-sem.


The course syllabus contains important information for students, including the course's policies on grading and cheating.


Students may enroll for one (1) credit.

Those taking the course for credit must read all of the assigned papers, submit a short summary of each assigned paper prior to class (PDF, LaTeX), participate in each discussion, and facilitate at least one seminar meeting during the semester. Refer to the syllabus for further information.

Potential Papers

Upcoming and recent conference proceedings are good sources of papers for discussion. Below are links to some relevant conference series.

Past CSL Seminars

Semester Focus Topic(s)
Spring 2020 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2019 no focus topic chosen
Spring 2019 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2018 no focus topic chosen
Spring 2018 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’17 papers
Fall 2017 no focus topic chosen
Spring 2017 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2016 no focus topic chosen; many SIGCOMM ’16 papers
Spring 2016 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2015 no focus topic chosen; many systems security papers
Spring 2015 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2014 no focus topic chosen; many OSDI ’14 papers
Spring 2014 no focus topic chosen; many systems security papers
Fall 2013 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’13 papers
Spring 2013 reversible and “time-traveling” debugging
Fall 2012 modern networking and network management; peer-review process
Spring 2012 systems approaches to dynamic problem detection and repair
Fall 2011 datacenter architectures and issues
Spring 2011 malicious software, i.e., malware
Fall 2010 systems approaches to security
Spring 2010 testbed-like infrastructures for cloud computing and scientific computing
Fall 2009 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’09 papers
Fall 2008 no focus topic chosen; many OSDI ’08 papers
Summer 2008 no focus topic chosen; informal biweekly meetings
Spring 2008 no focus topic chosen
Fall 2007 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’07 papers
Fall 2006 no focus topic chosen; many OSDI ’06 papers
Fall 2005 no focus topic chosen; many SOSP ’05 papers
Spring 2005 no focus topic chosen; many NSDI ’05 papers

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