The 18th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems

31 May–2 June 2021, Cyberspace, People’s Couches, and Most Likely Zoom


Continuing the HotOS tradition, participants in the 18th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems will present and discuss new ideas in systems research and how technological advances and new applications are shaping our computational infrastructure. We welcome researchers and practitioners old and new.

Program available!

Register for HotOS!



Fun Panels

  • The Future of Hardware Development: A Perspective from Systems Researchers
    Organized by Yiying Zhang
  • Systems Trivia Night!
    Organized by Vaastav Anand, Roberta De Viti, and Jonathan Mace
  • Jobs Jobs Jobs (The Employment Kind)
    A panel discussion with HotOS sponsors and others
  • Burnt Topics in Operating Systems
    Organized by Malte Schwarzkopf
  • The Future of the UNIX Shell
    Organized by Michael Greenberg, Konstantinos Kallas, and Nikos Vasilakis

The Fun Old Cloud

  • The RESTLess Cloud
    Johann Schleier-Smith, Nathan Pemberton, Joseph E. Gonzalez
  • From Warm to Hot Starts: Leveraging Runtimes for the Serverless Era
    Joao Carreira, Sumer Kohli, Rodrigo Bruno, Pedro Fonseca

The Fun New Cloud

  • From Cloud Computing to Sky Computing
    Ion Stoica, Scott Shenker
  • User-Defined Cloud
    Yiying Zhang, Ardalan Amiri Sani, Harry Xu
  • Rethinking Networking Abstractions for Cloud Tenants
    Sarah McClure, Deepak Bansal, Jitendra Padhye, Sylvia Ratnasamy

Fun Kernel Interfaces

  • We Need Kernel Interposition Over the Network Dataplane
    Hugo Sadok, Zhipeng Zhao, Valerie Choung, Nirav Atre, Daniel Berger, James Hoe, Aurojit Panda, Justine Sherry
  • mmap2: Uniform Memory Protection in a Heterogeneous World
    Lukas Humbel, Reto Achermann, Daniel Schwyn, Roni Haecki, David Cock, Timothy Roscoe
  • Contextual Concurrency Control
    Sujin Park, Irina Calciu, Taesoo Kim, Sanidhya Kashyap

Fun Kernel Design

  • Toward Reconfigurable Kernel Datapaths with Learned Optimizations
    Yiming Qiu, Hongyi Liu, Thomas E. Anderson, Yingyan Lin, Ang Chen
  • An Incremental Path Towards a Safe OS Kernel
    Jialin Li, Samantha Miller, Danyang Zhuo, Ang Chen, Jon Howell, Thomas Anderson

Fun Correctness

  • Reasoning About Modern Datacenter Infrastructures Using Partial Histories
    Xudong Sun, Lalith Suresh, Aishwarya Ganesan, Ramnatthan Alagappan, Michael Gasch, Lilia Tang, Tianyin Xu
  • Metastable Failures in Distributed Systems
    Nathan G Bronson, Abutalib Aghayev, Aleksey Charapko, Timothy Zhu
  • Fail-Slow Fault Tolerance Needs Programming Support
    Andrew Yoo, Yuanli Wang, Ritesh Sinha, Shuai Mu, Tianyin Xu

Fun Security

  • FlexOS: Making OS Isolation Flexible
    Hugo Lefeuvre, Vlad-Andrei Badoiu, Stefan Lucian Teodorescu, Tiberiu Mosnoi, Costin Raiciu, Pierre Olivier, Razvan Deaconescu, Felipe Huici
  • Stop! Hammer Time: Rethinking Our Approach to Rowhammer Mitigations
    Kevin Loughlin, Stefan Saroiu, Alec Wolman, Baris Kasikci

Fun Storage

  • BPF for Storage: An Exokernel-Inspired Approach
    Yuhong Zhong, Hongyi Wang, Yu Jian Wu, Asaf Cidon, Ryan Stutsman, Amy Tai, Junfeng Yang
  • The Aurora Operating System: Revisiting the Single Level Store
    EmilTsalapatis, Kenneth Ryan Hancock, Tavian Barnes, Ali Mashtizadeh
  • Don’t Be a Blockhead: Zoned Namespaces Make Work on Conventional SSDs Obsolete
    Theano Stavrinos, Daniel S Berger, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Wyatt Lloyd

Fun Applications

  • CloudEx: A Fair-Access Financial Exchange in the Cloud
    Ahmad Ghalayini, Jinkun Geng, Vighnesh Sachidananda, Vinay Sriram, Yilong Geng, Balaji Prabhakar, Mendel Rosenblum, Anirudh Sivaraman
  • The Once and Future Shell
    Michael Greenberg, Konstantinos Kallas, and Nikos Vasilakis
  • Privacy Heroes Need Data Disguises
    Lillian Tsai, Malte Schwarzkopf, Eddie Kohler
  • Doing More With Less: Training Large DNN Models On Commodity Servers For the Masses
    Youjie Li, Amar Phanishayee, Derek Murray, Nam Sung Kim

Fun Hardware

  • The Last CPU
    Joel Nider, Alexandra Fedorova
  • Cores That Don’t Count
    Peter H. Hochschild, Paul Turner, Jeffrey C. Mogul, Rama Govindaraju, Parthasarathy Ranganathan, David E. Culler, Amin Vahdat
  • A Case Against (Most) Context Switches
    Jack Tigar Humphries, Kostis Kaffes, David Mazières, Christos Kozyrakis

Fun Meta-Research

  • Systems Research Is Running Out of Time
    Ali Najafi, Amy Tai, Michael Wei
  • An Architecture for Century-Scale Smart Infrastructure
    Dhananjay Jagtap, Nishant Bhaskar, Pat Pannuto


  • In Reference to RPC: It’s Time to Add an Immutable Shared Address Space
    Stephanie Wang, Benjamin Hindman, Ion Stoica
  • Breakfast of Champions: Efficient Datacenter Serialization
    Deepti Raghavan, Philip Levis, Matei Zaharia, Irene Zhang
  • Zerializer: Towards Zero-Copy Serialization
    Adam Wolkinowski, Stephen Ibanez, Jonathan Stone, Changhoon Kim, Rajit Manohar, Robert Soulé

Call for papers and discussions

What’s changed? HotOS 2021 will feature blind submission, and in addition to 5-page position and research papers, we request one-page proposals for panels and events.

The 18th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems hopes to bring together researchers and practitioners in computer systems to engage in a lively discussion on the principles and practices of building systems software. Continuing the HotOS tradition, participants will present new ideas and debate future research agendas in systems research.

We solicit position papers that propose new directions of systems research, advocate innovative approaches to long-standing problems, or report on deep insights gained from experience with real-world systems. We seek early-stage work where the authors can benefit from community feedback. An ideal submission has the potential to open a line of inquiry that results in multiple conference papers by different authors in related venues, rather than a single follow-on conference paper. The program committee will explicitly favor papers likely to stimulate reflection and discussion.

HotOS takes a broad view of systems research. This includes operating systems, storage, distributed systems, mobile and embedded systems, virtualization, programming languages, networking, security, dependability, and manageability, as well as new systems contributions influenced by other fields such as hardware design, machine learning, verification, economics, social organization, and biological or other nontraditional computing systems.

Research and position paper submissions must be no longer than 5 pages including figures and tables, plus as many pages as needed for references. Text should be formatted in two columns on 8.5x11-inch paper using 10-point Times-Roman font on 12-point (single-spaced) leading, 1-inch margins, and a 0.25-inch gutter (separation between the columns). Submissions will be double blind. The title and an abstract should appear on the first page; authors should not. Authors must make a good faith effort to anonymize their submissions, and they should not identify themselves either explicitly or by implication (e.g., through the references or acknowledgments). Pages should be numbered. Figures and tables should not require magnification for viewing; they may contain color, but should be legible when printed or displayed in black and white. Submissions not meeting these criteria will be rejected without review, and no deadline extensions will be granted for reformatting. Here is a style file and a Latex template that you can use.

HotOS XVIII will also feature panels and events with the aim of inspiring lively discussion and research direction-setting independent of any specific work. Panels and events may have many formats, from conventional panel discussions to breakouts to games. If you are interested in hosting or proposing an event, please submit a 1-page proposal (using the same format above) describing topic, format, and length (up to 90 minutes), plus as many pages as necessary for references and supporting letters from planned participants. Proposals will be evaluated based on relevance of topic and potential to engage the audience. We especially encourage panel topics including but not limited to: industry perspectives on systems research; diversity and inclusion in systems research; under-appreciated open source technologies; and hardware trends and their implications for the future of systems research.

Research and position papers as well as panel proposals must be received by the Wednesday 3 February, 2021, AoE. Panel submissions do not need to be anonymous (e.g., panel submissions can be single blind). This is a hard deadline. Papers and proposals should be submitted as PDF files via the web submission form. Please select your submission type on the form (paper or proposal).

Revised versions of all accepted papers will be available online to registered attendees before the workshop. After the workshop, accepted papers will be made available on the workshop site, along with slides of the presentation and in some cases a summary of the discussion.

Simultaneous submission of the same work to multiple venues, submission of previously published work, or plagiarism constitutes dishonesty or fraud. ACM, like other scientific and technical conferences and journals, prohibits these practices and may take action against authors who have committed them. See the ACM plagiarism policy and procedures for details.

See the HotOS code of conduct and diversity and inclusion guidelines.

Key dates

  • Paper or Panel Proposal Submission Deadline: Feb 3, 2021 (AoE)
  • Notifications: April 15, 2021

General chair

  • Sebastian Angel, University of Pennsylvania

Program chairs

  • Baris Kasikci, University of Michigan (co-chair)
  • Eddie Kohler, Harvard (co-chair)

Program committee

  • Jeff Mogul, Google
  • Andrew Baumann, Microsoft Research
  • Haibo Chen, Shanghai Jiao Tong University
  • Natacha Crooks, UC Berkeley
  • Sasha Fedorova, University of British Columbia
  • Jon Howell, VMware Research
  • Rebecca Isaacs, Twitter
  • Ana Klimovic, ETH Zurich
  • John Regehr, University of Utah
  • Malte Schwarzkopf, Brown University
  • Deian Stefan, UC San Diego
  • Ioan Stefanovici, Microsoft Research
  • Ryan Stutsman, University of Utah
  • Tianyin Xu, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Yiying Zhang, UC San Diego
  • Ben Zhao, University of Chicago