ISL Colloquium
The ISL Colloquium convenes in person again (on Thursdays at 4pm PT in Packard 101) as of Fall 2021. For those unable to attend, talks are also streamed via Zoom. To avoid "Zoom-bombing", we ask attendees to input their email address here to receive the Zoom meeting details via email.

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Self-Programming Networks: Applications to Financial Trading Systems

Balaji Prabhakar – Professor, Stanford

Thu, 23-Jan-2020 / 4:30pm / Packard 101


We describe Self-Programming Networks (SPNs), an ongoing research effort at Stanford for making cloud computing networks autonomous; that is, to enable the networks to sense and monitor themselves, and program and control themselves. We describe the goals and the architecture of SPNs and present two key outcomes: (i) Huygens, for scalable and accurate clock synchronization, and (ii) Simon, for fine-grained network telemetry using observations from the network’s edge. We also describe the relevance of this work to existing financial trading systems and demonstrate how, in future, it enables financial trading systems in the Cloud.


Balaji Prabhakar is VMware Founders Professor of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and, by courtesy, in the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University. Balaji’s research interests are in computer networks; notably, data centers and cloud computing. From 2008 to 2016 he worked on Societal Networks: networks vital for society’s functioning, such as transportation, electricity and recycling systems. He led the development and deployment of “nudge engines” for transportation systems (notably, Singapore mass transit and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)), wellness programs, and corporate learning programs. Based on this work, he co-founded Urban Engines, a startup which was acquired by Google in 2016.

Balaji has received the NSF CAREER Award, the Erlang Prize from the INFORMS Applied Probability Society, the Rollo Davidson Prize from the University of Cambridge and delivered the Lunteren Lectures of the Dutch Operations Research Society. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, the ACM and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He has received the inaugural IEEE Innovation in Societal Infrastructure Award, and the IEEE Koji Kobayashi Award. He has served on the Advisory Board of the Future Urban Mobility Initiative of the World Economic Forum.