Systems Reading Group

Department of Computer Science
Northwestern University

The Systems Reading Group is an informal group that meets to read and discuss two to three systems research papers every week. We construe "systems" fairly broadly. All members of Northwestern's computer science department and computer engineering department are welcome to attend.

Meetings and protocols

Currently, we meet every Wednesday at 12pm in the 3rd floor conference room at 1890 Maple. We generally talk for 1-1.5 hours, but people are welcome to come and go as they please.

The general protocol is that we round-robin among the people in the group to choose the "paper dictator" of the week. The paper dictator chooses the papers for the week, tells everyone where to find them, and is responsible for leading the discussion of the papers when we meet. No formal presentation of the paper is required. Faculty and systems grad students can recommend papers if you're not comfortable picking them yourself.

Every week, each member of the group should send a short (a paragraph at most) comment/summary of each paper to the mailing list,

This is a low-stress, lets-learn-new-things-together environment.

How do I join (the mailing list)

You can basically just show up if you'd like. To join the mailing list send mail to with a line in the body that says "subscribe systems-reading-group-list youremailaddress".


In general, the papers we read are available online here, but some papers are only available via hardcopy. In that case, please see the paper's dictator.

Here are the past, present, and future papers.

Summer 2001

Fall 2001

Winter 2002

Spring 2002

Summer 2002

Fall 2002

Winter 2003

Spring 2003

Summer 2003

  • 7/10/2003, Dictator: Jason Skicewicz
  • P. Barford and D. Plonka. Characteristics of Network Traffic Flow Anomalies, July, 2001. In Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop, October, 2001 (ps).
  • P. Barford, A. Bestavros, J. Byers and M. Crovella. On the Marginal Utility of Network Topology Measurements, In Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop, October, 2001 (ps).
  • P. Barford, J. Kline, D. Plonka and A. Ron. A Signal Analysis of Network Traffic Anomalies, In Proceedings of ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop, Marseilles, France, November, 2002 (pdf).
  • 7/17/2003, Dictator: Ashish Gupta
  • EMBLEY, D. W., AND NAGY, G. Behavioral aspects of text editors. ACM Computing Surveys 13, 1 (January 1981), 33-70 (pdf).
  • 7/24/2003, Postponed due to lack of participation
  • 7/31/2003, Dictator: Ananth Sundararaj
  • S. Shi, J. Turner and M. Waldvogel, Dimensioning Server Access Bandwidth and Multicast Routing in Overlay Networks, The 11th International Workshop on Network and Operating Systems Support for Digital Audio and Video (NOSSDAV 2001), Port Jefferson, New York, June 2001 (pdf).
  • S. Shi and J. Turner, Routing in Overlay Multicast Networks, Proceedings of IEEE Infocom 2002, June 2002 (pdf).
  • 8/8/2003, Postponed due to faculty candidates
  • 8/13/2003, (lunch meeting), Dictator: Stefan Birrer
  • Y. Chu, S. Rao, S. Seshan and H. Zhang, Enabling Conferencing Applications on the Internet using an Overlay Multicast Architecture, SIGCOMM'01, San Diago, California, August 2001. (pdf).
  • S. Banerjee, B. Bhattacharjee and Ch. Kommareddy, Scalable Application Layer Multicast, SIGCOMM'02, Pittsburgh, PA, August 2002. (pdf).
  • 8/20/2003, Dictator: Bin Lin
  • S. Bhola and M. Ahamad, Workload Modeling for Highly Interactive Distributed Applications. Technical Report GIT-CC-99-2, College of Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology, 1999. (ps.Z).
  • 8/27/2003, Dictator: Yi Qiao
  • M. Ripeanu, I. Foster, and A. Iamnitchi. Mapping the Gnutella network: Properties of large-scale peer-to-peer systems and implications for system design. IEEE Internet Computing Journal. Jan. 2002. (pdf).
  • Kunwadee Sripanidkulchai. The popularity of Gnutella queries and its implications on scalability. (html).
  • 9/3/2003, Dictator: Efstratios Gavas
  • Moti N. Thadani Yousef A. Khalidi. An Efficient Zero-Copy I/O Framework for UNIX. (pdf)
  • 9/10/2003, Dictator: Azzari Caillier
  • 9/17/2003, Dictator: Dong Lu
  • Paper queue

    Volunteers to present the following papers are needed! Also, please send mail to Jason Skicewicz to suggest other papers to add to the list.
  • Algorithms
  • Singer, B., Veloso, M., Stochastic Search for Signal Processing Algorithm Optimization. SC2001.
  • Clusters and supercomputers
  • Control systems
  • Information and Control in Gray-Box Systems. Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau, Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau (University of Wisconsin, Madison). SOSP 2001
  • Cycle stealing
  • Ryu, K., Hollingsworth, J., Keleher, P., Efficient Network and I/O Throttling for Fine-Grain Cycle Stealing. SC2001.
  • Databases
  • Plale, B. and Schwan, K., Dynamic Querying of Streaming Data with the dQUOB System. Submitted journal publication, September 2001.
  • Data grid
  • Chervenak, A., Foster, I., Kesselman, C., Salisbury, C. and Tuecke, S., The Data Grid: Towards an Architecture for the Distributed Management and Analysis of Large Scientific Datasets.
  • Data mining
  • Andrade, H., Kurc, T., Efficient Execution of Multiple Query Workloads in Data Analysis Applications. SC2001.
  • Distributed and parallel programs
  • Truong, et al, On using SCALEA for Performance Analysis of Distributed and Parallel Programs. SC2001.
  • Distributed systems tools
  • Shah, H., Pu, C., Madukkarumukumana, R., High Performance Sockets and RPC over Virtual Interface (VI) Architecture.
  • OGSA Service Spec (pdf).
  • File systems
  • Graphs
  • Kleinberg, J., Kumar, R., Raghavan, P., Rajagopalan, S. and Tomkins, A., The Web as a graph: measurements, models, and methods.
  • Hardware
  • St. Arnaud, B. et al, Wavelength Disk Drives. (html).
  • Mobile networking
  • Network performance monitoring and measurement
  • Zinky, J. and White F., Visualizing Packet Traces.
  • Hay, J., Feng, W. et al, Capturing Network Traffic with a MAGNet.
  • Towards Improving Packet Probing Techniques. Matt and Hans-Werner Braun -- NLANR, UC San Diego. SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop.
  • M. Jain, and C. Dovrolis (Univ. of Delaware), End-to-End Available Bandwidth: Measurement Methodology, Dynamics and Relation with TCP Throughput.
  • Network traffic and path modeling
  • Connection-level Analysis and Modeling of Network Traffic. Shriram Sarvotham, Rudolf Riedi, and Richard Baraniuk -- Department of Electrical Engineering, Rice University. SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop.
  • On the Constancy of Internet Path Properties. Yin Zhang, Nick Duffield, Vern Paxson, and Scott Shenker -- AT&T Labs Research, Florham Park NJ; AT&T Center for Internet Research at ICSI, Berkeley CA. SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop.
  • Y. Zhang, L. Breslau (AT&T Labs), V. Paxson and S. Shenker (ICSI), On the Characteristics and Origins of Internet Flow Rates.
  • D. Clark, J. Wroclawski, K. Sollins (MIT LCS), R. Braden (USC), Tussle in Cyberspace: Defining Tomorrow's Internet.
  • Network zero-copy operation
  • Object oriented programming and software design
  • Tokuda, L. and Batory, D., Automated Software Evolution via Design Pattern Transformations.
  • Tokuda, L. and Batory, D., Automating Three Modes of Evolution for Object-Oriented Software Architectures.
  • Practical systems
  • Linux 2.4 Implementation discussion. Available (here)
  • Routing
  • Puente, V., Gregorio, J.A., et al, A New Routing Mechanism for Networks with Irregular Topology. SC2001.
  • Scheduling
  • Security and attack safeguarding
  • Gil, T., Poletto, M., MULTOPS: a data structure for bandwidth attack detection.
  • TCP
  • Cardwell, N., et al, Modeling TCP Latency, INFOCOM 2000.
  • Tinnakornsrisuphap, P., Feng, W., et al, On the Burstiness of the TCP Congestion-Control Mechanism in a Distributed Computing System.
  • Feng, W., Tinnakornsrisuphap, P., The Adverse Impact of the TCP Congestion-Control Mechanism in Heterogenous Computing Systems.
  • Jacobson, V. and Karels, J., Congestion Avoidance and Control.
  • Brakmo, L. S. and Peterson, L. L., TCP Vegas: End to End Congestion Avoidance on a Global Internet.
  • Weigle, E. and Feng, W., Dynamic Right-Sizing: A Simulation Study.
  • A. Akella, S. Seshan (CMU), R. Karp, S. Shenker, C. Papadimitriou (ICSI/UC Berkeley), Selfish Behavior and Stability of the Internet: A Game-Theoretic Analysis of TCP.
  • Paper resources

    Here are some places to look for new papers to add to the paper queue.
  • SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Workshop
  • SOSP 2001
  • SIGCOMM 2001 Technical Program

  • Jason A. Skicewicz
    Last modified: Tue Jul 1 14:44:19 CDT 2003