“It's very important to think outside the box!”

Sanidhya Kashyap. 2024 EPFL/Alain Herzog - CC-BY-SA 4.0

Sanidhya Kashyap. 2024 EPFL/Alain Herzog - CC-BY-SA 4.0

Sanidhya Kashyap is focused on designing operating systems for the future that are scalable, robust, and secure and evolve in step with new applications.

Systems design is a fast-moving field, and for Sanidhya Kashyap, an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer and Communication Sciences (IC) and head of the Robust Scalable Systems Software Laboratory, this keeps life interesting!

Sanidhya joined EPFL from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2020 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges he had anticipated, he found his new colleagues to be so welcoming and inspirational that he believes his move has opened up a world of opportunities.

“Professionally, I’m thrilled! My colleagues constantly push me to rethink my research, which has really changed my outlook. They are wonderfully collegial yet challenging, and that has been amazing,” Sanidhya shared.

With his team, Sanidhya prioritizes designing future operating systems that are adaptable, robust, and secure. His students specialize in various aspects of systems design, including storage, security, heterogeneity, programming languages, and concurrency, always considering the appropriate set of system design principles to use.

“We have started thinking more along the lines of the right set of abstractions for application design so that system design meets the needs of the app user. One such instance is our paper that won the Best Paper Award at the Symposium of Operating System Principles 2023,” he explained. “It focused on an architecture that enables the design of a high-performance storage stack while ensuring the security of the system. Achieving both of them at the same time is always challenging, but our work demonstrated a viable approach.”

Building on this research, Kashyap’s group focuses on developing evolving operating systems that can efficiently execute any application without rebooting. This requires a lot of ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking!

A modern-day carpenter

“I don’t even know what the box in the question is,” he says. “My wife tells me that I always think differently, which I believe is crucial as it offers a new perspective on how things work or how others have thought about something. I try to read broadly, at times even beyond my research areas, to stay motivated and inspired by a wide range of topics.”

He likens himself to a modern-day carpenter in this world, building and fixing things with different tools. The need for technology, like the need for functional furniture, is perpetual. And it’s this philosophy that Kashyap enjoys sharing the most with his students. He finds his students just as amazing and believes that a professor is defined by the students in their lab.

“Professors guide them in an advisor role, and I am so very proud of each of my students here at EPFL who work tirelessly. It’s wonderful to see how they engage with me, reason about things, and perceive the world around them. It gives me immense pleasure to see them grow. I know that tomorrow, they will change the world!”

Author: Tanya Petersen

Source: Education

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