Atul Adya

I am currently an engineer at Google working on large-scale distributed systems (my email is my-last-name at google dot com). For the past few years, I have been working on a notification system called Thialfi. This infrastructure system provides fast and reliable notifications to end-user applications. Several Google applications use Thialfi including Chrome (for syncing a user's bookmarks, extensions, etc. across different machines). A paper on Thialfi appears in the 23rd ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP), 2011.

Earlier, I was an Architect in the Windows Live Core division working on Live Mesh that offers cloud storage, sync, desktop connectivity and an application development platform. I worked on a service called Centrifuge that allows service developers to scale their mid-tier servers without having to worry about some of the thorny issues of consistency, server addition/crashes, load management, etc.

Before this work, I was an Architect in the Data Programmability team of the SQL Server division where I was involved in co-architecting the ADO.NET Entity Framework. I worked on the Entity Mapping design and implementation along with other interesting issues such as the update pipeline in ADO.NET EF. ADO.NET Entity Framework has a very powerful mapping engine. The paper is available here (it won the joint Best Paper Award at SIGMOD 2007).

Earlier, I was a member of the Systems and Networking Group at Microsoft Research. I was working on the design and implementation of a serverless, distributed file system called Farsite that does not assume mutual trust among the client computers. The system provides security, availability, and reliability by distributing multiple encrypted replicas of each file among symbiotically cooperating client machines.

I have also been working in the area of wireless systems for the past few years. In particular, I worked in the area of wireless fault detection and diagnostics. The goal of this work was to detect and analyze the cause of faults in wireless networking systems, e.g., why does a machine have poor or connectivity, what is the cause of poor performance. Before working on this project, along with my colleagues, I explored the idea of using multiple radios in wireless LAN systems for enhancing power, increasing capacity, and reducing the handoff time for wireless clients.

In general, my technical interests are in distributed systems, database systems, wireless systems, and operating systems. I am interested in issues of consistency and concurrency control, caching, replication, system performance, and other systems-related issues.

I moved to Seattle, Washington from Boston, Massachusetts after completing my PhD. in the Programming Methodology Group at the MIT Laboratory of Computer Science with Prof. Barbara Liskov. Along with other members of the PM group, I was involved in designing and implementing a distributed object-oriented database, Thor.

Professional Activities


Entity Framework and Object-Relational Mapping

Farsite Publications

Wireless Publications

Thor Publications


Architecture and Caching

Miscellaneous Publications