Extreme distributed systems

For more than 25 years, I have been looking into large-scale distributed systems. A recurring theme is that I have always been looking into simple solutions, knowing that even those simple solutions will easily get complicated no matter what. Learning the hard way, I by now know that it’s relatively easy to make something complicated, and that it can be tremendously difficult to keep matters simple.

Since a number of years, my attention has moved to further decentralization of distributed systems, which spawned an interest in epidemic-based  solutions. I have started to use the term extreme distributed systems as complete decentralization allows us to develop extremely large systems, which almost naturally brought me to complex networks. Since a number of years, I am also considering spatial distributed systems, notably wireless systems with extremely small nodes (cf. sensor networks).

I have become a firm believer of use-inspired research as explained in an excellent book called Pasteur’s Quadrant.

A final note

I have worked with many different people and have supervised many masters and PhD students, leading to a fair number of papers. The people I collaborate with can be classified as experimental computer scientists. We validate our ideas through prototypes. Our systems act as instruments to understand, model, and validate observations. I am not a theoretician, although I sometimes truly enjoy collaborating with them.