UO computer scientist is the latest to get NSF Career Award

Illustration of cloud networks

Assistant professor Ramakrishnan Durairajan has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development Award from the National Science Foundation for his research into computer networks that use multiple cloud computing services.

The $530,000 award, also known as a Career Award, will support Durairajan’s research project, “Argus: Measurement-informed Learning Approach to Managing Multi-cloud Networks,” over five years. Durairajan is a faculty member in the Department of Computer and Information Science in the College of Arts and Sciences.

This was Durairajan’s third shot at the Career Award and he said he was pleased to receive the grant this time around. His research project will focus on reducing the management barriers that enterprises face when using multicloud networks.

Ramakrishnan DurairajanMulticloud is a strategy that uses two or more cloud computing or storage services to aid a single network. Many enterprises, such as genomics, health care and high-performance computing, rely on multicloud networks for operational productivity. But each cloud service has its own sets or operational practices, privacy policies and costs, all of which can be a significant barrier for enterprises using multiple cloud networks.

The Argus framework will focus on three main scientific inquiries. First, it will design measurement tools and techniques that enterprises can use to gain more visibility into their networks. Second, because of privacy concerns, it will investigate how enterprises can select which performance capabilities are associated with a specific provider. Third, it will design a management capability that will allow enterprises to navigate costs and operational goals within their respective cloud networks.

Enterprises are using multicloud deployment strategies at an unprecedented pace, Durairajan said, and that use will continue to increase. He said enterprises want cloud providers to have more user-centric approaches.

“Unfortunately, what the enterprises get from cloud providers today is a provider-centric approach to managing deployments,” he said. “Enterprises have minimal to no control over providers' infrastructures and cannot accurately measure and infer cloud infrastructures' performance from an enterprise perspective. This is a big problem for enterprises seeking to build multicloud strategies.”

The Career Award also will allow Durairajan to provide programs that focus on experiential learning. Underrepresented students from Lane Community College will have the opportunity to participate in a mini-research experience.

It will also help organize virtual summer school programs on project-related topics, involve undergraduates in research, and develop a curriculum on multicloud networks. Durairajan’s hope is that those activities will generate community engagement and a globally competitive STEM workforce within that emerging area.

—By Natalie Myking, College of Arts and Science