We are exploring the properties of hardware and software systems to enable us to express and reason about all forms of computational systems.

Distributed systems are becoming increasingly complex and are perhaps more accurately described as (distributed) systems of systems, encompassing areas of technological innovation including:

  • cloud computing
  • multi-core architectures
  • the Internet of Things
  • mobile computing

Members of the group have expertise in research areas spanning data centres, cloud computing, many-core systems, networking, IoT, middleware, compilers, and runtime optimisation.

The Distributed Systems research group is interested in the fundamental challenges related to managing such complex distributed systems, including:

  • How to achieve the critical property of interoperability in complex, highly heterogeneous distributed systems
  • Overlay management in such environments to deliver end-to-end quality of service properties (including the dimension of energy efficiency)
  • Programmability to ease the burden of developing applications and services
  • Software engineering techniques more generally to tame this complexity

The group also carries out more applied work, examining the role of distributed systems in addressing some of the grand challenges facing society today. In particular, we work with the Environmental Sciences community in providing distributed systems support to scientists. This collaboration is to enable a new kind of integrative, open and collaborative science as required to address issues like climate change. This work includes:

  • The role of cloud computing in supporting this new kind of science
  • The purpose of the Internet of Things in providing real-time data streams on different facets of the natural environment to facilitate holistic environmental management strategies
  • Examination of techniques to simplify the execution of (potentially complex) environmental models in the cloud.

We also address the role of complex distributed systems in underpinning smart cities research looking in particular at issues around ‘in the wild’ deployment of distributed systems technologies.