About Me

I am a tenure-track faculty member at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems -- a position equivalent to a US assistant professor -- and head of the Cloud Software Systems Group.

I joined MPI-SWS in September 2018. Before that, I was a graduate student at Brown University (2011-2018), where I was advised by Rodrigo Fonseca. At Brown, I was supported in part by a Facebook PhD Fellowship, and had various collaborations with researchers at Facebook and Microsoft.

My Research Interests

Prospective students please read the Prospective Students page.

I am interested in cloud systems, distributed systems, computer networks, and operating systems. I am particularly interested in observability, performance and tracing. My research group builds tools and designs new (distributed) systems.

The main goal of my research is to make it easier to operate large software systems and to understand their behavior at runtime. I think about the kinds of systems that modern tech companies use, such as public cloud systems (like AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure); open-source systems (like Hadoop, Spark, and Kafka); and emerging paradigms (like microservices and serverless).

My research is practical in nature, and evaluation often involves developing new tools, modifying existing open-source systems, and designing and implementing new systems entirely.

Want to know more? A good place to start is my somewhat-recent Research Statement, which gives an overview of the problems I like and the work I've done.

Want to join my group? Please check the Prospective Students page.

Recent News

  • 2020/02 Finalist for the Facebook ML Systems research award, for our work on DNN serving.
  • 2020/01 Our book about distributed tracing, aptly titled "Distributed Tracing in Practice", has reached 100% first draft. Expected publication in July 2020!
  • 2019/07 Teaching Advanced Topics in Cloud and Datacenter Systems next summer semester (2020) at Saarland University.
  • 2018/10 I received the Honorable Mention for the 2018 Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award, for my PhD thesis, A Universal Architecture for Cross-Cutting Tools in Distributed Systems! The award was presented at this year's OSDI in Carlsbad, CA.
  • 2018/09 I have arrived at MPI-SWS and I am looking for students! This includes interns (undergraduate and graduate), PhDs, and postdocs. If you're interested, check out the Prospective Students page.

Awards

About the Cloud Software Systems Group

My research group is called the "Cloud Software Systems Group", and it includes my current students (listed below) and me. We are not the only systems-focused group at MPI! Other faculty at MPI working on Systems and Networking include Peter Druschel, Antoine Kaufmann, Deepak Garg, Keon Jang, Krishna Gummadi, and Anja Feldmann.

Research

My group focuses on a few topics: observability and tracing in cloud and distributed systems; performance and resource management; building multi-tenant distributed systems; and more. We think about questions like the following:

  • When you put together a complex distributed system, how do you know what it's doing when you run it?
  • How do you know that your system is performing well at scale?
  • What's the right way to configure large systems? What things should even be configurable (and what shouldn't!)?
  • When things go wrong - like a crash, or if things are really slow - how do you figure out why? How do you find the root causes of issues?
  • What information could systems provide to make it easier to diagnose performance problems?
  • When you're building a new system, what choices could you make so that it's easier to understand and analyze the system later?
  • How can two or more users efficiently share a distributed system without impacting each other?

Answering these questions entails -- among other things -- designing new abstractions for building distributed systems; new runtime techniques for measuring, adapting, and enforcing system behaviors; and new tools for analyzing behaviors both online and offline.

My group's research is practical in nature, and evaluation often involves developing new tools, modifying existing open-source systems, and designing and implementing new systems entirely.

Want to know more? A good place to start is my 2018 Research Statement, which gives an overview of the problems I like and the work I've done

Want to join my group? Please check the Prospective Students page.

Repositories

All research projects for my group are hosted on MPI's GitLab here: https://gitlab.mpi-sws.org/cld

Most of them are publicly visible but if you have trouble, or if you'd like to contribute, please contact me or create an issue in the relevant repo.

Current Members

Publications

2020
Distributed Tracing in Practice
Austin Parker, Daniel Spoonhower, Jonathan Mace, Rebecca Isaacs
Textbook, Publication July 2020.
2019
Sifter: Scalable Sampling for Distributed Traces, without Feature Engineering
Pedro Las-Casas, Giorgi Papakerashvili, Vaastav Anand, Jonathan Mace
SoCC, 2019. [PDF]
No DNN Left Behind: Improving Inference in the Cloud with Multi-Tenancy
Amit Samanta, Suhas Shrinivasan, Antoine Kaufmann, Jonathan Mace
arXiv, 2019. [PDF]
2018
Weighted Sampling of Execution Traces: Capturing More Needles and Less Hay
Pedro Las-Casas, Jonathan Mace, Dorgival Guedes, Rodrigo Fonseca
SoCC, 2018. [PDF]
A Universal Architecture for Cross-Cutting Tools in Distributed Systems
Jonathan Mace
Ph.D. Thesis, Brown University, 2018. [PDF]
Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award, Honorable Mention
Universal Context Propagation for Distributed System Instrumentation
Jonathan Mace, Rodrigo Fonseca
EuroSys, 2018. [PDF]
2017
Canopy: An End-to-End Performance Tracing And Analysis System
Jonathan Kaldor, Jonathan Mace, Michał Bejda, Edison Gao, Wiktor Kuropatwa, Joe O'Neill, Kian Win Ong, Bill Schaller, Pingjia Shan, Brendan Viscomi, Vinod Venkataraman, Kaushik Veeraraghavan, Yee Jiun Song
SOSP, 2017. [PDF]
2016
Principled Workflow-Centric Tracing of Distributed Systems
Raja R. Sambasivan, Ilari Shafer, Jonathan Mace, Benjamin H. Sigelman, Rodrigo Fonseca, Gregory R. Ganger
SoCC, 2016. [PDF]
2DFQ: Two-Dimensional Fair Queuing for Multi-Tenant Cloud Services
Jonathan Mace, Peter Bodik, Madanlal Musuvathi, Rodrigo Fonseca, Krishnan Varadarajan
SIGCOMM, 2016. [PDF]
2015
Pivot Tracing: Dynamic Causal Monitoring for Distributed Systems
Jonathan Mace, Ryan Roelke, Rodrigo Fonseca
SOSP, 2015. [PDF]
Best Paper Award
We are Losing Track: a Case for Causal Metadata in Distributed Systems
Rodrigo Fonseca, Jonathan Mace
HPTS, 2015. [PDF]
Retro: Targeted Resource Management in Multi-Tenant Distributed Systems
Jonathan Mace, Peter Bodik, Rodrigo Fonseca, Madanlal Musuvathi
NSDI, 2015. [PDF]
2014
Towards General-Purpose Resource Management in Shared Cloud Services
Jonathan Mace, Peter Bodik, Rodrigo Fonseca, Madanlal Musuvathi
HotDep, 2014. [PDF]
2013
Revisiting End-to-End Trace Comparison with Graph Kernels
Jonathan Mace, Rodrigo Fonseca
MSc Project, Brown University, 2013. [PDF]

Information for Prospective Students

I have the following open positions:

  • PhD Student positions with full funding
  • 1 Postdoctoral Researcher position
  • Research Internships
  • Masters thesis and RIL advising for UdS students
More information about these positions and how to apply can be found below. Please follow these instructions before e-mailing me about positions.

Internships

I accept interns on a rolling basis. Internships are typically 3 months in duration and are ideal for senior undergraduates, masters students, and pre-doctoral students. Information about internships at MPI-SWS can be found here. To apply for an internship, please:

  1. Apply early! For summer internships, please apply by December 31st of the previous calendar year. Otherwise, please see the application deadlines listed here.
  2. Complete the Internship application on the MPI-SWS online application portal.
  3. Complete the Intern Research Survey for the Cloud Software Systems Research Group, found here.
  4. Send an e-mail to jcmace@mpi-sws.org only after completing the application and survey.
Please do not e-mail me unless you have completed the above steps.

PhD Students

I am always looking for talented PhD students. PhD positions at MPI-SWS provide full funding for the duration of the PhD. MPI-SWS has four deadlines throughout the year for PhD admission (link).

Applicants should be broadly interested in cloud and distributed systems, including system design, performance, tracing, debugging, and resource management. Since my group's research has a significant practical element, applicants will need to be comfortable diving into unfamiliar code bases and rapidly prototyping new ideas. Applicants must have a track record of academic excellence and significant prior research or project experience.

To apply for a position as a PhD student, please complete the following:

  1. Complete the PhD application on the MPI-SWS online application portal.
  2. Complete the PhD Research Survey for the Cloud Software Systems Research Group, found here.
  3. Send an e-mail to jcmace@mpi-sws.org only after completing the application and survey.
Please do not e-mail me unless you have completed the above steps.

Postdoctoral Researcher

I have one open position for a postdoctoral researcher. To apply for a position as a postdoctoral researcher, please fill out an online application, then contact me by e-mail.

Applicants should be broadly interested in cloud systems, distributed systems, performance, and troubleshooting, but otherwise, the postdoctoral researcher will be free to pursue their own research agenda. In addition to working with the cloud software systems research group, postdoctoral researchers have freedom to seek collaborations and work with other research groups and faculty within the institute.

University of Saarland

Masters Projects and Research Immersion Labs for Current Students

I can advise research immersion labs and masters projects for students at the University of Saarland. If you are interested in working with my research group, please:

  1. Complete the Research Survey for the Cloud Software Systems Research Group, found here.
  2. Send an e-mail to jcmace@mpi-sws.org only after completing the application and survey.
Please do not e-mail me unless you have completed the above steps.

Further Information

For general information about internships at MPI-SWS, please refer to the following resources:

For general information about PhDs at MPI-SWS, please refer to the following resources:

Contact Information

If you are a prospective student, please see the Prospective Students page for information about openings in my group and instructions for how to apply. If you want a response from me you will need to complete the research survey.

For all other correspondence, my preferred contact method is e-mail.

jcmace@mpi-sws.org

+49 681 9303-8801

Room 409 in the Saarbrücken building of MPI-SWS. Map

MPI-SWS
Campus E1 5
66123 Saarbrücken
Germany