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Robbert van Renesse

Senior Research Associate

PhD Vrije Univ., Amsterdam 1989

I am an architect and developer in K. Birman's Ensemble project. Ensemble is a general-purpose group communication framework for supporting adaptive distributed applications. By stacking micro-protocols, a variety of communication semantics can be provided. A protocol stack can be reconfigured on-the-fly to adapt to changes in network services or application demands. We are particularly interested in protocols that support fault-tolerant, secure, and scalable applications. With B. Constable's Nuprl group, we are working on performance, specification, and correctness issues.

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I am involved the TACOMA project, with visitor D. Johansen (Tromsoe Univ., Norway) and F. Schneider. This project investigates the "agent" or "smart packet" paradigm, which is a mobile computation. We have implemented several prototype systems and are interested particularly in security issues: host integrity, agent integrity, and interagent integrity.

Professional Activities

  • Associate Editor: IEEE Trans. Distributed and Parallel Systems.

  • Program Committee: IEEE Int. Conf. Distributed Computing Systems.


Building adaptive systems using Ensemble. Computer Science, Univ. Penn, Jan. 20, 1998.


  • Optimizing layered communication protocols. Proc. 6th IEEE Int. Symp. High Performance Distributed Computing. Portland, Oregon (Aug. 1997) (with M. Hayden).

  • Packing messages as a tool for boosting the performance of total ordering protocols. Ibid (with R. Friedman).

  • Moving the Ensemble communication system to NT and Wolfpack. Proc. USENIX Windows NT Workshop (Aug. 1997) (with 7 others).

  • Performance issues in TACOMA. Proc. 3rd. Workshop on Mobile Object Systems, 11th European Conf. Object-Oriented Programming, Jyva_skyla, Finland (June 1997) (with D. Johansen and N. Sudmann).