Distributed, Networked, and Mobile Systems

Our society increasingly relies on information technology for everything from personal communication to critical infrastructure control. As a result, properties such as usability, dependability, security, privacy, and the ability to meet timing or resource constraints are indispensable for systems on a global scale. Distributed, networked, and mobile systems research focuses on the principles and practice of engineering systems that meet these criteria.

Groups and Researchers in this Field


Information Security and Cryptography

Michael Backes is a computer science professor at Saarland University, Director of the Center for IT-Security, Privacy, and Accountability, a Max Planck Fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, and a Principal Investigator and Vice-Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction. He leads the Information Security & Cryptography group, focusing on aspects of IT security and privacy, from design, analysis, and verification of protocols and systems, mechanisms for protecting end-user privacy, and research on new attack vectors to universal solutions in software and network security. Backes’ current main research focus is on the ERC Synergy Grant imPACT, which aims to provide foundations for privacy, accountability, compliance, and trust on the Internet of the future. Read more

Michael Backes

Michael Backes

MPI-SWS, Max Planck Fellow

Personal Website

Real-Time Systems

Björn Brandenburg is a Max Planck Research Group leader, heading the Real-Time Systems group at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. His main research interests are real-time systems, operating systems, synchronization protocols, and embedded systems, with a focus on the design and implementation of systems that are robust, efficient, and amenable to a priori analysis. To this end, the group engages in both systems building and the development of novel analysis methods. As a result of his work with OS kernels, he is also interested in the construction, testing, validation, and performance evaluation of operating systems and other complex systems software. Read more

Björn Brandenburg

Björn Brandenburg

MPI-SWS, Faculty

Personal Website

Distributed Systems

Peter Druschel is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he leads the Distributed Systems research group. He is also an adjunct professor at Saarland University, Associate Director of the Center for IT-Security, Privacy, and Accountability, and a Principal Investigator in the Cluster of Excellence on Multimodal Computing and Interaction. He has received an NSF CAREER Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and the Mark Weiser Award. His research interests are in understanding, designing, and building computer systems. In the past, he has worked on operating systems, network services, peer-to-peer systems, and accountable distributed systems. Currently, he is interested in practical techniques to make distributed and mobile systems secure, accountable, and privacy-preserving. Read more

Peter Druschel

Peter Druschel

MPI-SWS, Faculty

Personal Website

Privacy Issues Surrounding Online Tracking

Paul Francis is on the faculty of the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he leads a research group in the Security & Privacy area. In the past, his research focused on routing and addressing problems in the Internet and P2P networks, with innovations including NAT, shared-tree multicast, the first P2P multicast system, the first DHT (as part of landmark routing), and virtual aggregation. His current research focuses on privacy issues surrounding online tracking. The primary economic drivers of user tracking are behavioral advertising and analytics; his group designs and builds systems that allow for advertising and analytics without violating individual user privacy. In addition, he has co-founded the startup aircloak.com, which uses a “cloaked computing” approach as a basis for private analytics. Read more

Paul Francis

Paul Francis

MPI-SWS, Faculty

Personal Website

Computer Security Group

Deepak Garg’s interests include computer security and privacy, formal logic, and programming languages. He is head of the Foundations of Computer Security group, associated with both the Security & Privacy and the Programming Languages & Verification research areas at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems. The group’s current projects investigate tracking and controlling flows of sensitive information through Web browsers, using type systems to statically estimate the asymptotic complexity of incremental runs of programs, creating mechanisms to enforce data protection policies across multiple system infrastructure layers, extending separation logics to reason about security protocols, and developing foundations and algorithms for temporal logic-based privacy audits of legal compliance, among others. Read more

Deepak Garg

Deepak Garg

MPI-SWS, Faculty

Personal Website

Theory of Distributed Systems

Christoph Lenzen coordinates the Theory of Distributed Systems research area in the Algorithms and Complexity Department at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics. Broadly, distributed computing concerns systems of multiple agents that act based on local information. Typical problems require agents to collaboratively solve a task quickly, despite limits on communication, faults, or inaccurate data. The group’s approach is largely based on tools of theoretical computer science. They devise abstract models to capture problems’ central challenges, and prove upper and lower bounds on the complexity of solutions in terms of the amount of communication, number of faults that can be tolerated, etc. They also seek to provide prototype implementations of their algorithms, which may then form a basis for applications. Read more

Christoph Lenzen

Christoph Lenzen

MPI-INF, Senior Researcher

Personal Website

Distributed Systems Group

The Distributed Systems group does research and development in operating systems and distributed systems. The ultimate motivation for our research is to make programmers’ lives easier by providing the right abstractions, algorithms, mechanisms, and techniques for improving the programmability and performance of applications that use shared data. Lately, we have been focusing our efforts towards mobile computing, i.e. addressing key issues that are relevant to make mobile middleware a reality: replication, security, memory management, context-aware computing, transactions, and mobile file systems. Read more

Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues

Rodrigo Miragaia Rodrigues

MPI-SWS, Adjunct Faculty

Personal Website