Baris Kasikci named Morris Wellman Professor

Kasikci’s research is centered around developing techniques, tools, and environments that help developers build more reliable, secure, and efficient software.
Baris Kasikci
Prof. Baris Kasikci

Assistant professor Baris Kasikci has been named a Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professor. The professorship is awarded to junior faculty members in recognition of outstanding contributions to teaching and research.

Kasikci’s research develops techniques for building systems that are simultaneously efficient and trustworthy, with a focus on real-world technical and societal impact. Achieving efficiency and trustworthiness requires an innovative combination of approaches. His work draws insights from a broad set of disciplines such as systems, computer architecture, and programming languages, in order to face new challenges.

Kasikci works to tackle the growing complexity of software ecosystems and the hardware used to power them. Software systems are increasingly more complex and consist of deep stacks. Software’s soaring complexity combined with the halt of Moore’s Law and Dennard Scaling is causing a shift to a more heterogeneous hardware landscape, comprising CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, fast networks, and denser memory technologies.

For the foreseeable future, improving the efficiency of computer systems will be crucial to enabling society’s growing reliance on feature-rich software. One of Kasikci’s recent projects developed a special software manager to accomplish this, called a hypervisor, that was specially designed for these hardware systems with a blend of different computing components. This manager is crucial for cloud settings, where customers frequently vie for the same hardware support and it needs to be smartly allocated.

Unfortunately, Kasikci says, trustworthiness in this complex ecosystem is often an afterthought. This has led to software and hardware plagued with bugs that cause data loss, security vulnerabilities, and failures of critical infrastructure, incurring over $2T of costs in the US alone in 2020. As Kasikci’s lab continues to design more efficient ways to manage complex software, they’ll maintain a focus on ensuring these methods are correct and bug-free.

Kasikci’s previous recognitions include an NSF CAREER award, a Microsoft Research Faculty Fellowship, an Intel Rising Star Award, a Google Faculty Award, a VMware Early Career Grant, multiple Intel awards, and a VMware fellowship. He has received the Jay Lepreau Best Paper Award at OSDI’18, an IEEE MICRO Top Picks Award, the Roger Needham Ph.D. Award for the best PhD thesis in computer systems in Europe, and the Patrick Denantes Memorial Prize for best PhD thesis in Computer Science at EPFL.

Previously, Kasikci was a researcher in the Systems and Networking Group at Microsoft Research Cambridge. He completed his PhD in Computer Science at EPFL and has held roles at Intel, VMware, and Siemens.

About the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship

Michael P. Wellman, the Richard H. Orenstein Division Chair of Computer Science and Engineering and Lynn A. Conway Collegiate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, endowed the Morris Wellman Faculty Development Professorship in his grandfather’s name. Morris Wellman was an engineer who worked for most of his career as a civil servant of the City of New York.