SIGCOMM Doctoral Dissertation Award

SIGCOMM Doctoral Dissertation Award for Outstanding PhD Thesis in Computer Networking and Data Communication

Recent Awards
2020: Yuliang Li (Hardware-Software Codesign for High-Performance Cloud Networks) for innovations that enable improved performance and robustness of cloud networks through hardware and software codesign, including closing the loop of telemetry and control functions, and identifying the best division of labor between programmable switches, NICs, hosts, and the controller.
Honorable Mention: Ming Liu (Building Distributed Systems Using Programmable Networks) for identifying and enabling novel uses of programmable network devices in data centers, including an in-network computing solution for accelerating distributed applications, and a microservice execution platform running on SmartNIC-accelerated servers.
The committee: Jorjeta Jetcheva (San Jose State University, chair), Kate Lin (National Chiao Tung University), David Maltz (Microsoft), and Peter Steenkiste (Carnegie Mellon University).
2019: Deepak Vasisht (Towards Realizing the Internet-of-Things Vision: In-body, Homes, and Farms) for visionary research on internet-of-things services with concrete impact solving human-critical problems in different application areas including in-body, homes, and agriculture.
Mina Tahmasbi Arashloo (Stateful Programming of High-Speed Network Hardware) for pioneering the idea of raising the level of programming abstraction, and for proposing a new architecture for programming network transport protocols in FPGAs and a new language and compiler system for developing stateful applications for software-defined networks.
The committee: Christophe Diot (Google, chair), Jim Kurose (UMass Amherst), Lili Qiu (University of Texas at Austin), Catherine Rosenberg (University of Waterloo), and Geoff Voelker (UC San Diego).
2018: Ryan Beckett (Network Control Plane Synthesis And Verification) for pioneering contributions in extending the field of network control plane verification and synthesis. 
Honorable mention: Arpit Gupta (Flexible and Scalable Systems for Network Management) for impactful work on Software Defined Internet Exchange Point design and implementation.
The committee: John W. Byers (Boston University), Dejan Kostic (KTH), Nikolaos Laoutaris (IMDEA, chair), Anees Shaikh (Google), and Steve Uhlig (Queen Mary University of London).
2017: Anirudh Sivaraman Kaushalram (Designing Fast and Programmable Routers)

  • Sivaraman's dissertation makes pioneering and impactful contributions to the design and implementation of programmable routers that run at hardware line rates.

The committee: Marco Mellia, T.S. Eugene Ng (chair), Xiaowei Yang, and Haifeng Yu
2016: The two co-winners are Justine Sherry (Middleboxes as a Cloud Service) and Vamsi Talla (Power, Communication and Sensing Solutions for Energy Constrained Platforms)

  • Sherry’s dissertation proposes that advanced network functions be implemented as software services running in the cloud, and develops in depth the algorithms and system designs needed to realize this vision in practice.
  • Talla's dissertation introduces techniques that make it possible to build low-power sensors and devices that consume no energy beyond what is already in the air, in ambient RF signals such as cellular, TV, and Wi-Fi.

The committee: Fabián Bustamante, Rodrigo Fonseca, Dave Levin (chair), and Ellen Zegura
2015: Mosharaf Chowdhury (Coflow: A Networking Abstraction for Distributed Data-Parallel Applications)

  • Chowdhury’s dissertation provides novel and application-aware networking abstractions which significantly improve the performance of networked applications running in the cloud..

The committee: Ratul Mahajan, Dina Papagiannaki, Laurent Vanbever (chair), and Minlan Yu

2014: Keith Winstein (Transport Architectures for an Evolving Internet)

  • Winstein's dissertation proposes and develops the idea of computer-generated congestion control, creatively solving both classical and new problems in network resource management.
  • With Honorable Mention
    • Hongqiang Liu - (Traffic Planning under Network Dynamics)
      Liu's dissertation presents the design and implementation of practical, uniform, automatic, and proactive techniques to prevent the link
      congestion commonly caused by network faults and maintenance.

The committee: Mark Crovella, Arvind Krishnamurthy, Nikolaos Laoutaris, Alan Mislove, Neil Spring,  Arun Venkataramani


2013: Aaron Schulman (Observing and Improving the Reliability of Internet Last-Mile Links)

  • The dissertation provides the first observations of fundamental factors that limit the reliability of the Internet’s critical last-mile infrastructure and presents improvements to mitigate the effects of these factors.

2012: Shyamnath Gollakota

  • The dissertation provides a fundamentally new and practical way to deal with interference in the wireless medium, often rendering it harmless or even turning it into an advantage. While traditional wireless systems have attempted to avoid interference, this thesis is the first to practically demonstrate techniques to decode packets under significant interference and leveraging it for improved security. The thesis is transformative and can significantly impact the design of future wireless communication systems.
  • Runners Up:
    Ashok Anand
    The dissertation presents a range of innovative techniques to eliminate redundancies in traffic across diverse hosts, routers, and networks across the Internet. The work itself is rigorous and comprehensive in its treatment of redundancy elimination techniques. As the demand for Internet bandwidth continues to be higher than ever before, such approaches can prove to be highly beneficial.
    Laurent Vanbever
    The dissertation provides fundamental innovations that allow a network to be re-configured without causing inconsistencies in network routing structures. The thesis encompasses good theoretical concepts that ensure global correctness properties and practical manifestations of these concepts to make them deployable. As networks around us continue to get more complex, the techniques developed in this thesis provide significant tools to improve efficient management of these networks.

2011: Minlan Yu, Scalable Management of Enterprise and Data-Center Networks

  • Minlan Yu’s PhD thesis concerns the design, implementation and evaluation of a scalable management architecture for enterprise and data center networks.  Minlan’s research goes full circle, from important practical problems, to creative data structures and algorithms, to rigorous analysis and modeling, and finally to the design and implementation of novel systems.  Minlan’s thesis is exceptional both in breadth and depth, with proven results on one of the world’s largest datacenters.
    Runners Up:
    Michel Piatek, Scalable Data Sharing Without Centralized Trust
    Michael Piatek’s PhD thesis concerns the design and construction of effective content distribution systems. Amongst other contributions, he uses a mix of clever analysis and experimentation to devise a new peer-to-peer system “BitTyrant” that greatly outperformed alternatives, and which has been downloaded more than a million times. Michael’s dissertation succeeds by delivering insightful theory, demonstrated in practice.
    Aruna Balasubramanian, Architecting Protocols to Enable Mobile Applications in Diverse Wireless Networks
    Aruna Balasubramanian's PhD thesis concerns enhancing the experience of mobile users in the face of challenging network conditions, for
    instance by building disruption-tolerant networks.  Her work is based on careful analysis, and has been deployed and tested out in the field.  Her work has been cited hundreds of times, and has had a large impact on research in the area, raising the bar for experimental verification of wireless network systems.