November 18, 1955
New York City, New York
N. Rama Rao Chair in Computer Science, Cornell University College of Computing and Information Science
University of California, Berkeley
Guide to Reliable Distributed Systems: Building High-Assurance Applications and Cloud-Hosted Services
Ithaca, Greece, New York, United States
Ken Birman (born November 18, 1955) is a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University.
- Research and Publications
- Virtual Synchrony and Isis Toolkit
- Other Research
- Selected publications
- Selected awards and honors
Research and Publications
Birman's research is mainly on the scalability of distributed systems, security technologies, and system management tools employed in cloud computing.
An ACM Fellow and IEEE Fellow, Birman was Editor in Chief of ACM Transactions on Computer Systems from 1993-1998. He is also the author of several books, most recently "Reliable Distributed Computing: Technologies, Web Services, and Applications", published by Springer-Verlag in May 2007.
Virtual Synchrony and Isis Toolkit
He is best known for developing the Isis Toolkit, which introduced the virtual synchrony execution model for multicast communication. Birman founded Isis Distributed Systems to commercialize this software, which was used by stock exchanges, for air traffic control, and in factory automation. The Isis software operated the New York and Swiss Stock Exchanges for more than a decade, and continues to be actively used in the French air traffic control system and the US Navy AEGIS warship.
The technology permits distributed systems to automatically adapt themselves when failures or other disruptions occur, to securely share keys and security policy data, and to replicate critical services so that availability can be maintained even while some system components are down. Birman released a version of the Isis technology, Vsync, as an open-source library.
Other results of Birman's Cornell research effort include Bimodal Multicast, a probabilistically reliable broadcast protocol, which uses the gossip paradigm; and Astrolabe, a scalable tool for monitoring, data mining and managing large systems.