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Distributed Systems Group / INESC-ID Lisboa

Making distributed programming easy

The Distributed Systems Group is a research group of INESC-ID, a research laboratory associated with the Instituto Superior Tecnico (IST) of the Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa. Most of our members are either faculty or students at IST but we also have a number of external collaborators from other Portuguese academic institutions.

Physically, the group is located part at the INESC-ID building near the Alameda Campus of IST (directions here) and part at the Tagus Park Campus of IST (directions here).

Goals

The Distributed Systems Group at INESC-ID Lisboa performs research in the area of algorithmic, middleware and communications support to build complex and dynamic distributed applications. The ultimate motivation for our research is to make programmers' lives easier by providing the right abstractions, mechanisms and techniques for improving the programmability and performance of distributed applications.

Current Research Areas

  • Adaptive systems - this line of research investigates middleware solutions to build adaptive and dependable distributed applications. We are interested in researching middleware solutions that can be applied both to fixed (wired) networks and to (mobile) ad hoc networks.
  • Ad hoc and wireless computing - this line of research addresses communication support (group communication, agreement), middleware (service discovery, publish-subscribe) for ad hoc and wireless networks such as sensor networks, wireless meshes, and MANETs.
  • Data management - algorithms for distributed and fault-tolerant data access both in wired and wireless networks. This topic addresses research issues such as transactional support for distributed applications, database replication, software transactional memory, distributed garbage collection.
  • Grid and parallel computing - grid platforms provide highly available computing, storage and networking resources. Institutions aggregate on virtual organizations, registering their resources to the grid and in return access a virtually limitless warehouse. This allows the emergence of innovative application and business models, delivering the solution to several large-scale problems leading to the economy grid in which resources are provided against some retribution. Supporting such scenarios requires complex distributed policies for resource access control to prevent their malicious utilization. However, current grid platforms provide only simple primitives in their authorization modules, thus preventing the grid economy to become a reality.
  • Overlay construction and maintenance - distributed hash tables and overlays to support gossip based interactions. This work researches algorithms and protocols to provide communication and coordination support for very dynamic systems, i.e., system where the membership and topology is subject to change, including large-scale peer-to-peer networks, ad hoc networks, among others. Of particular relevance are approaches that combine structured and unstructured approaches and that promote the security of these overlays.
  • Security - architecture and implementation of secure distributed systems. This work focuses on system mechanisms and policies for the implementation of secure distributed systems, such as authentication, communication streams and filesystems.

The group members are participating in several national and international research projects in these areas.

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