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New [email protected] team—shaping the future of hyperscalar systems

For over two decades, Google has helped lead the invention of modern cloud systems—defining, designing and deploying warehouse-scale computing as the foundation for reliable, performant, and secure global-scale information services delivered to billions of users around the world. This leadership involves significant innovation across a broad range of systems technologies, including distributed systems, storage systems, databases, analytics, operating systems, wide area and data center networking, cluster computing, ML, video acceleration and more.

Today, we are announcing a significant step in continuing Google’s tradition of innovation and charting its path into the future: the formation of [email protected] (SRG). SRG will be a new research team, positioned in the heart of Google’s Cloud and Infrastructure engineering organization, with the mission of shaping the future of hyperscalar systems design for Google and its ecosystem. It is focused on inventing, incubating, and infusing new concepts, designs, and technologies into Google’s applications, systems, and data centers. The team’s position will allow seamless engagement with engineering and product teams, enabling joint exploration in concert with transformative workloads. Beyond Google, the SRG team will look to forge strong relationships with external research communities working on the most pressing systems-research problems.

Critical research at a pivotal time

We are at a time of enormous transition and opportunity, as nearly all large-scale computing is moving to cloud infrastructure, classical technology trends are hitting limits, new programming paradigms and usage patterns are taking hold, and most levels of systems design are being restructured. We are seeing wholesale change with the introduction of new applications around ML training and real-time inference to massive-scale data analytics and processing workloads fed by globally connected edge and cellular devices. This is all happening while the performance and efficiency gains we’ve relied on for decades are slowing dramatically from generation to generation. And while reliability is more important than ever as we deploy societally-critical infrastructure, we are challenged by increasing hardware entropy as underlying components approach angstrom scale manufacturing processes and trillions of transistors.

In the last twenty years, much of the world’s population has gained real-time access to the world’s information and to one another in ways that were previously the stuff of science fiction. The next decade will see computing and associated capabilities undergo an even more profound transformation, bringing real-time insights, sensing, and actuation to trillions of network-connected devices spanning all of the world’s population. Doing so will require fundamental advances in security, reliability, programming models, data analysis, systems for machine learning, networking, storage systems, hardware architecture, and software systems.

[email protected] will be co-led by David Culler and Hank Levy, who bring a combination of academic and industrial experience, plus a long history of successful and impactful research in computer systems. Culler is the former Chair of EECS at UC Berkeley, where he worked to create the Division of Data Sciences and became its founding Dean. His research has focused on parallel architectures, clusters, embedded wireless networks, planetary-scale internet services, and sustainability design. He was the founding faculty director of Intel Research Berkeley, co-founded two startups, and worked with Sun Microsystems for a decade. Levy is the former Chair of Computer Science & Engineering at University of Washington, where he worked to create the Paul G. Allen School and became its founding Director. His research has focused on operating systems, distributed systems, computer architecture, and hardware multithreading. Before UW, Levy spent a decade at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), where he worked on operating systems and early-generation clustered computer systems; he has also co-founded two startups. Culler and Levy are both Members of the National Academy of Engineering and Fellows of the IEEE and the ACM.

SRG will be located across sites in Google’s Bay Area and Seattle facilities. We are currently building the SRG team, bringing together leading networked systems thinkers from around the world and inside Google. If you’re interested in joining the team, apply here.

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