Henry M. Levy
Chairman and Wissner-Slivka Chair
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
University of Washington
*** THIS PAGE IS OBSOLETE. The new page can be found here. ***
Henry M. Levy holds the Wissner-Slivka Chair in Computer
Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. Hank's
research projects focus on operating systems, distributed systems, security, the world-wide web, and computer architecture.
Hank is author of two books and over 100 papers on computer systems
design. His publications have earned over a dozen best-paper awards
(including 9 from the top operating systems conferences), and
3 "test of time / influential paper" awards in both operating systems and computer
architecture. He is former chair
of ACM SIGOPS (the Special
Interest Group on Operating Systems), former program chair of the ACM
Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), the ACM Conference
on Arhictectural Support for Programming Languages and Operating
Systems (ASPLOS), and the IEEE Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating
Hank is a Member of the National Academy
of Engineering (NAE), a Fellow of
the Association for Computing
Machinery (ACM), a Fellow of the
Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and recipient of
a Fulbright Research Scholar
Award. He has co-founded two companies
-- Skytap, a Seattle
cloud-computing company, and Performant, Inc., a company in the Java
performance space (acquired by Mercury in 2003) -- and is a member of the Technical Advisory Boards
Systems, Zillow.com, Corensic,
and Madrona Venture Group. In a previous life,
Hank was a Consulting Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)
where he worked on commercial operating systems and systems
architecture. He was deeply involved in the design and construction
of the Paul G. Allen
Center for Computer Science & Engineering and is art curator for
the Allen Center
Twenty-four Ph.D. and seventeen Master's students have survived Levy's
supervision; the Ph.D. students have escaped to academic positions
or major research labs. When not glued to his workstation, Hank can
usually be found skiing, biking, playing tennis, helping to lead the
department's infamous softball team (the Smiling
Potatoes of Death), or sampling desserts at one of Seattle's many
Some current and previous research projects
- File systems for mobile devices: We have designed a new file
system (called Keypad) for mobile devices that are easily lost or
stolen. Keypad provides an audit trail indicating which files were
(or were not) accessed following device loss, and also allows a
user to disable file reading post-loss, even in the absence of network
on Keypad appeared at the EuroSys Conference in April, 2011, where it won the Best Student Paper Award.
- Active DHTs: Distributed key-value storage systems are widely used
in corporations and across the Internet. We have designed and
implemented a new type of DHT that expands the application space by
allowing application-specific DHT customization. Our system,
called Comet, allows clients to store active storage objects (ASOs) in
the DHT; an ASO will react to certain events to take application-specific
actions. A paper on Comet appeared at the October 2010 OSDI Conference.
- Vanish: Self-Deleting Data:
We designed a system called Vanish that ensures privacy for
digital data stored in the cloud. Vanish provides timeouts for
digital data stored on Web services, so that all copies of data (even offline copies)
simultaneously self-destruct (become unreadable) at a specified future time. We have
released our vanish prototype. Since the
original Vanish paper we have designed and deployed security strengthening enhancements to the
Vuze DHT and designed alternative structures for Self-Deleting Data.
We have been interested in both characterizing and preventing Spyware
uses pre-execution of Web content to detect spyware threats on the fly
We produced the first quantitative studies of spyware
and then crawled the Web to study the density of malicious executables
and Web pages in different Web categories, e.g., games, celebrity
sites, news sites, etc.
Daily). As well, we designed a new Web browser architecture,
that protects users from malicious Internet content and provides
guarantees to Web services. We've also looked at general requirements
for browser architectures (see
- Personal Data Sharing and Organization: We are working on ways to
facilitate protected, fine-grained sharing of heterogeneous collections of personal data
objects, both peer-to-peer (in a system called HomeViews)
and using personal data objects that are stored behind protected
Web services (in Menagerie).
of Internet Behavior and Content Delivery Mechanisms : We have
conducted several significant studies of the Internet and the Web,
e.g., evaluating peer-to-peer file sharing systems (such as Kazaa and
Gnutella), studying sharing of web documents and the potential of
cooperative proxy caching, evaluating streaming media protocols, etc.
- Reliable Operating Systems:
We built OS infrastructure (called "Nooks") to improve the reliability of
commodity operating systems. Nooks allows both the OS and applications to
tolerate failures in device drivers -- the most common cause of system crashes.
We have developed a new OS component, called a Shadow Driver, that transparently
recovers a failed device driver in a simple and straightforward way.
Multithreading : SMT is a processor
architecture that executes multiple instructions from multiple threads
each cycle. Intel has included SMT support on many of its
processors (called "Hyper-threading") and IBM supports SMT on its
Power CPUs. Our papers on SMT have won "most influential paper / test of time" awards at both the 2010 and 2011 ISCA conferences.
Some of my former PhD students
Tom Anderson, UC Berkeley, University of Washington
Rob Bedichek, Apple
Brian Bershad, Carnegie Mellon, UW, Google
Jeff Chase, Duke University
Mike Feeley, University of British Columbia
Roxana Geambasu, Columbia University
Krishna Gummadi, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems
Norm Hutchinson, University of British Columbia
Eric Jul, University of Copenhagen
Alex Klaiber, NVIDIA
Jack Lo, VMware
Alex Moshchuk, Microsoft Research
Vivek Narasayya, Microsoft Research
Rajendra Raj, Rochester Institute of Technology
Josh Redstone, Google
Charlie Reis, Google
Yasushi Saito, Google
Stefan Saroiu, University of Toronto, MSR
Mike Swift, University of Wisconsin
Chandu Thekkath, Microsoft Research - Silicon Valley
Dean Tullsen, University of California, San Diego
Geoff Voelker, University of California, San Diego
Alec Wolman, Microsoft Research
Some Example Publications
- Keypad: An Auditing File System for Theft-Prone Devices, with Roxana Geambasu, John John, Steven Gribble, and Tadayoshi Kohno. Proceedings of the EuroSys 2011 Conference, April 2011 (award paper).
- Comet: An Active Distributed Key-Value Store, with Roxana Geambasu, Amit Levy, Tadayoshi Kohno, and Arvind Krishnamurthy. Proc. of the Conference on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI), October 2010.
- The Architecture and Implementation of an Extensible Web Crawler, with Jonathan Hsieh and Steven Gribble. Proc. of the 7th Usenix Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), April 2010.
- Vanish: Increasing Data Privacy with Self-Destructing Data, Roxana Geambasu, Tadayoshi Kohno, Amit A. Levy, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 18th USENIX Security Symposium, August 2009 (award paper).
- Flashproxy: Transparently Enabling Rich Web Content via Remote Execution, Alexander Moshchuk, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 6th International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys), June 2008 (honorable mention paper).
- Organizing and Sharing Distributed Personal Web-Service Data. Roxana Geambasu, Cherie Cheung, Alexander Moshchuk, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 17th International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2008), April 2008.
SpyProxy: Execution-based Detection of Malicious Web Content. Alexander Moshchuk,
Tanya Bragin, Damien Deville, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 16th Usenix Security Symposium, August 2007.
- Homeviews: Peer-to-Peer Middleware for Personal Data Sharing Applications. Roxana Geambasu, Magdalena Balazinska, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the ACM International Conference on Management of Data (SIGMOD), June 2007.
- Recovering Device Drivers. Michael Swift, Muthukaruppan Annamalai, Brian N. Bershad, and Henry M. Levy. ACM Trans. on Computer Systems 24(4), November 2006. (Extended version of paper that appeared in Proc. of the 6th ACM/USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI), December 2004 (award paper).)
Safety-Oriented Platform for Web Applications. Richard S. Cox, Jacob
Gorm Hansen, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the
2006 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy, Oakland, CA, May 2006.
- A Crawler-Based Study of Spyware on the Web. Alexander Moshchuk, Tanya Bragin, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 13th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS '06), February 2006.
- Improving the Reliability of Internet Paths with One-hop Source Routing.
Krishna P. Gummadi, Harsha V. Madhyastha, Steven D. Gribble, Henry M. Levy, and David Wetherall.
Proc. of the Sixth ACM/USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI), December 2004.
- Measurement and Analysis of Spyware in a University Environment.
Stefan Saroiu, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy.
Proc. of the First Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI), March 2004.
the Reliability of Commodity Operating Systems. Michael M. Swift,
Brian N. Bershad, and Henry M. Levy. ACM Trans. on Computer
Systems 22(4), November 2004. (Extended version of paper that
appeared in Proc. of the 19th ACM Symposium on Operating
Systems Principles, October 2003 (award paper).)
Measurement, Modeling, and Analysis of a Peer-to-Peer File-Sharing Workload.
Krishna P. Gummadi, Richard J. Dunn, Stefan Saroiu, Steven D. Gribble, Henry M. Levy, and John Zahorjan.
Proc. of the 19th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, October 2003.
An Analysis of Internet Content Delivery Systems. Stefan Saroiu, Krishna P. Gummadi,
Richard J. Dunn, Steven D. Gribble, and Henry M. Levy. Proc. of the 5th
Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (OSDI), December 2002. (award paper)
- Measurement and Analysis of a Streaming-Media Workload. Maureen Chesire, Alec Wolman, Geoffrey Voelker, and Henry Levy. Proc. of the 3rd USENIX Symp. on Internet Technology and Systems (USITS), March 2001. (award paper)
- Manageability, Availability
and Performance in Porcupine: A Highly Scalable Cluster-Based Mail Service. Yasushi Saito, Brian Bershad, and Henry Levy. ACM Trans. on Computer Systems 18(3), August 2000. (This is an extended version of the paper that
appeared in the Proc. of the 17th ACM Symp. on Operating
Systems Principles, December 1999.) (award paper)
- On the
scale and performance of cooperative Web proxy caching. Alec Wolman, Geoff Voelker, Nitin Sharma, Neal Cardwell, Anna Karlin, and Henry Levy. Proc. of the 17th ACM Symp. on Operating
Systems Principles, December 1999.
Exploiting Choice: Instruction Fetch and Issue on an Implementable
Simultaneous Multithreading Processor. Dean Tullsen,
Susan Eggers, Joel Emer, Henry Levy, Jack Lo, and Rebecca Stamm. In Proc.
of the 23rd International Symposium on Computer Architecture,
May 1996. (2011 SIGARCH/ISCA Test of Time Award.)
Simultaneous Multithreading: Maximizing On-Chip Parallelism.
Dean Tullsen, Susan Eggers, and Henry Levy.
In. Proc. of the 22nd Annual International Symposium
on Computer Architecture, June 1995. (2010 SIGARCH/ISCA Test of Time Award.)
Sharing and Protection in a Single-Address-Space Operating System.
Jeffrey S. Chase, Henry M. Levy, Michael J. Feeley, and Edward
D. Lazowska. ACM Transactions on Computer Systems 12(4),
- VAXclusters: A Closely Coupled Distributed System. Nancy Kronenberg, Henry Levy, and William Strecker. ACM Transactiosn on Computer Systems 4(2), May 1986. (Extended version of paper that appeared in the 10th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, 1985. (Conf. award paper; also 2009 ACM SIGOPS Hall of Fame Award.)
- The out-of-print 1984 book on
Capability-Based Computer Systems -- a survey
and description of early object-based and capability-based processors and operating systems -- is now
available on line here.