TCFT Vice Chair Candidate

Roberto Baldoni


Roberto Baldoni is Professor at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" where he leads the Distributed Systems group, the MIDdleware LABoratory (MIDLAB) and chair the Sapienza Ph. D program in Computing Science and Engineering. Prior joining the University of Rome, Roberto was visiting researcher at IRISA/INRIA and at Cornell University. His research interests include distributed computing, dependable and secure distributed systems, distributed information systems and distributed event based processing. Roberto's research at the University of Rome has been funded along the years by the European Commission, the Ministry of Italian Research, IBM, Microsoft, Finmeccanica and Telecom Italia.

In the last decade Roberto has led several research efforts funded by the EU commissions by coordinating large research projects in the field of networked embedded systems (Home Automation and energy saving in public buildings) and network security (protection of the financial infrastructure) aimed at the study of scalability, dependability and security aspects of such complex systems. Roberto also worked heavily in the context of e-government in the last 10 years by participating first to several EU projects looking at  interoperability, service continuity and SLA aspects. Then for the Italian Government, from 2002 to 2007, he has led a large working group for the design of the next generation system for Italian e-government (“Servizio Pubblico di Cooperazione”) including academics, stakeholders, industries and regulators. Roberto has served on several of Scientific Committee boards in recent years, including IBM SICA and Sapienza Innovazione. This year he got the Science2business Award in the context of his work on Home Automation for his capacity to translate scientific results into business opportunities. Roberto is also the recipient of a ACM service of recognition Award and an IBM Faculty Award.

Roberto is author of around 150 research papers from theory to practice of distributed systems. He did influential work on theory of checkpointing, publish/subscribe systems, software replication systems, group communications and cooperative information systems. Roberto is an associate editor of IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems. His service contributions within the dependability community includes the PC co-chairmanship of SRDS 2007 and the presence in around 20 program committee memberships among DSN, EDCC, PRDC and SRDS. Additionally, Roberto  belongs to the Steering Committee of ACM DEBS that he chaired in 2008. He is a member of the IFIP WG 10.4, of the ACM and IEEE. Finally, he recently launched with Alex Shvartsman a Workshop by invitation on Theoretical Aspects of Dynamic Distributed Systems.

Position Statement

Dependable, Secure and Fault-Tolerant Computing is currently one of the most important and active areas from  both a computing science point of view and an engineering point of view. The proliferation of hardware devices and software services from the very small devices (e.g., sensors networks and multicores architectures) to the very huge systems (e.g., data centers, cloud computing), in everyday's life and activities has increased the awareness by generic users, stakeholders, regulators and service providers of the need for computer systems and for services to work dependably, despite faults and cyber attacks. The IEEE TC-DFTC  gathers a very large share of the best researchers and practitioners that contribute to make this vision come true. However, we do not have to hide to ourselves that the risk of diminishing the capacity of attraction of good students, researchers and grants is more real now than in the past. So an effort is needed to maintain and strengthen the tradition of excellence and the international standing of the TC and to keep TC as the fulcrum of the dependability community.

If elected as a TC Vice-chair, in addition to helping the current chair Neeraj Suri to carry out his duties, I’ll work in enhancing the activities of our community towards the target of excellence and of keeping the TC as the very center of dependability. At this aim, a key priority is maintaining DSN conference and other conferences sponsored by the TC vibrant and exciting events enlarging their audience in terms of students, industries participation and participation of researchers of directly linked research communities from theory to systems. Here three crisp objectives:

Students. Recruiting and growing up the next generation of researchers and practitioners in the dependability field has to be our priority. Also open and high quality competitions among students is one of the key factors to attract the brightest ones. I’ll firmly pursue the possibility of establishing a two year-based Award for excellent PhD Thesis in the dependability field. The Award should be decided by an Open and (very) High quality Committee including people from Theory to Systems areas and following a very transparent procedure. Then Awards should be delivered at DSN allowing the student to present their work. I personally believe that this award should be dedicated to the memory of Jean-Claude Laprie that invested his life on building our community. In my vision, this Award complements the William Carter Award in two dimensions. First it is an Award given to a PhD Thesis work and secondly we should try to solicit candidature from a dependability community “in the large” including students working actively in PODC, DISC, DEBS, SOSP etc areas. In that way, the IEEE-TC-DFTC  will be perceived as the very center of dependability whatever the conferences and journals in which people do publish. Also any efforts to facilitate student participation to main community events (expanding the scholarship programs) and allow students to participate to the organizing process is still a priority.

Open-up the community. Our community is ideally positioned between the theory and the industry world. We should be aware of what are new ideas coming from theory and translate them into something applicable to the real world. At the same time, industry should explain us new problems arising from the real world and we should create systems that answer to their needs feeding thus the theory world with appropriate paradigms and methodologies to be further investigated. The role of the community will be to transform these inputs in research challenges and provide then outputs. In this direction I think we should be creative and set up opportunities and instruments to expose our community to these inputs and to set up connection to direct appropriately our research findings. Specific workshops, forums and other initiatives associated with the community main events should be encouraged. This will allow to enlarge, to open and to enhance the relevance of our community while keeping the TC as the fulcrum of dependability research. Instrumental to this target is making as more transparent as possible the decisional processes inside our community. We should be also open to integrate in the organizational structure of our TC high reputed researchers working in dependability coming from directly linked research communities. We have to reach a level of maturity where the largest number of people as possible have to see DSN as the forum where to submit their best research contribution on dependability and work for that target.

Relationship with funding agencies. Increase the visibility and the reputation of our community with respect to funding agencies. I think this point is strictly correlated to and coherent with the other two. TC has to work in order that our community be engaged and strongly connected with the funding agencies in order to assist the redaction of roadmaps and research workprogrammes at the national and transnational level on dependable, trustworthy and secure systems. This is an objective that has to be pursued by the TC by assisting local communities and by creating opportunities for them acting as facilitator. As a structured and globalized community, TC has to help indeed finding the best condition for strengthen the US and European communities and for the further development of the Asian, Pacific, Middle East and Latin American communities.