- Associate Professor of Computer Science
Minlan's research focuses on designing networked systems that make data centers inherently easier to manage. Data centers are immensely beneficial for business and society (e.g., social media, public health, and entertainment), but they are also immensely difficult for network operators to manage. Modern data-centers are composed of millions of servers and switches and require many management tasks ranging from fault diagnosis to traffic engineering, network planning, and attack prevention. To meet these management needs, Minlan's work redesigns data center infrastructure to make it fundamentally easier to manage with less human involvement. She combines network domain knowledge with programming languages to provide new declarative abstractions for network management. She also designs creative algorithms and data structures that enable real-time management decisions with minimal resources. Her systems have been deployed in the world’s largest data centers and have influenced switch chip designs.