RESEARCH FOR PRACTICE continues in its fourth
installment by bringing you a pair of paper selections
on distributed transactions and sensing with the aid
of physical networks.
First, Irene Zhang delivers a whirlwind tour of
recent developments in distributed concurrency
control. If you thought distributed transactions were
prohibitively expensive, Irene’s selections may prompt
you to reconsider: The use of atomic clocks, clever
replication protocols, and new means of commit
ordering all improve performance at scale.
Second, Fadel Adib provides a fascinating look at using computer networks as physical sensors. It turns out
that the radio waves passing through
our environment and bodies are subtly modulated as they do so. As Fadel’s
selection shows, new techniques for
sensing and interpreting these modulations allow us to perform tasks
previously reserved for science fiction: seeing through walls, performing gesture recognition, and monitoring breathing.
As always, we have provided open
access to the ACM Digital Library for
the relevant citations from these selections so you can dig into and fully appreciate the research papers in each.
During the next several installments
of Research for Practice, we will continue our journey through the varied landscape of computer science research areas. In the meantime, we welcome your
continued feedback and suggestions
for topics. Enjoy!
— Peter Bailis
Peter Bailis is assistant professor of computer science
at Stanford University. His research in the Future Data
Systems group ( http://futuredata.stanford.edu/) focuses
on the design and implementation of next-generation
By Irene Zhang
make it easier for pro-
grammers to reason about
the correctness of their applications in
modern data centers, where both con-
currency and failures happen at scale.
Distributed storage systems and data-
bases with ACID (atomicity, consistency,
isolation, durability) guarantees help
programmers by ensuring that opera-
Article development led by
Expert-curated guides to
the best of CS research.
Research for Practice combines
the resources of the ACM Digital Library,
the largest collection of computer science
research in the world, with the expertise
of the ACM membership. In every RfP column
two or more experts share a short, curated
selection of papers on a concentrated,
practically oriented topic.