Systems Seminar - CSE
Improving the Performance and Robustness of Web Applications
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Web applications are becoming more popular, and they are increasingly competitive with desktop applications in terms of functionality and visual sophistication. Unfortunately, web applications suffer from unique challenges that traditional desktop programs do not face. Content is often downloaded on demand, making the performance of a web application dependent on the current quality of the network connection and how judiciously the application uses that link. Furthermore, web applications must run across a variety of browsers that are buggy and only semi-compatible with each other. This makes it challenging to write robust, portable web applications, and when those applications do break, users have no systematic way to send repeatable buggy execution runs to web developers.
James Mickens is a researcher in the Distributed Systems group at MSR. Most of his current research focuses on web applications, but his other current projects involve mobile computing and designing secure applications which run atop trusted hardware modules. Mickens received his PhD from the University of Michigan in 2008. While a student there, Mickens was legendary for his transcendental skills on the CSEG foosball table. He was also notorious for trying to schedule his thesis defense in the early hours of the morning so that nobody would come to it. This technique, popularly called "the Mickens Gambit," is now banned in 36 states.