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


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

Internet Architecture

Anja Feldmann is a scientific director at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, where she also heads the Internet Architecture department. Her work on internet routing, traffic analysis and modeling has advanced basic research and played a decisive role in the ongoing development of the Internet. Feldmann’s studies of the potentials and limits of web proxy caching have shaped the business decisions of countless internet services, and technologies for compressing and sending web page updates based on her findings have become ubiquitous elements in internet browsers and servers. Her recent work has focused on technologies for detecting and defending high-speed networks against malicious attacks, as well as new web applications and forms of internet usage such as chats, Web 2.0 and social networking. Read more

Anja Feldmann

Anja Feldmann

MPI-INF, Scientific Director

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

Operating Systems Group

Antoine Kaufmann is a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he leads the Operating Systems group. His research investigates the design and implementation of efficient, scalable, and robust systems for rapidly evolving modern platforms, with a current focus on data centers. He addresses these challenges from a systems perspective, with solutions that span multiple layers of the systems stack, from operating systems through networks down to hardware, but also programming languages and applications. His group analyzes the performance of existing systems, develops novel system designs and abstractions, and evaluates performance and robustness of the new systems by building prototypes and simulations. Read more

Antoine Kaufmann

Antoine Kaufmann

MPI-SWS, Research Group Leader

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

Cloud Software Systems

Jonathan Mace is a faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, where he leads the Cloud Software Systems research group.  His group focuses on how to design, develop, and deploy distributed systems for modern clouds and data centers.  A particular focus of his research is on cross-component tools, techniques, and abstractions, to make it easier for developers and operators  to observe, reason about, and enforce end-to-end system behaviors.  This often requires co-ordinating across layers and abstraction boundaries in complex software stacks, to observe and exploit the end-to-end flow of execution.  Ongoing work in Dr. Mace’s group is exploring several avenues: new approaches to cross-cutting concerns in cloud systems, such as security and resource management; approaches for automating tool deployment that both reduce development cost and lower the barrier for deployment; large-scale performance analytics of distributed systems using end-to-end performance data; and representations and embeddings for performance and tracing data that can take advantage of the strengths of modern machine learning techniques. Read more

Jonathan Mace

Jonathan Mace

MPI-SWS, Faculty

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