Photo by Tim Griffith.

Upcoming event: Talk by Timothy Roscoe (ETH Zurich)



The UW Center for the Future of Cloud Infrastructure (FOCI) aims to foster a tight partnership between practitioners and researchers to define the next generation of cloud infrastructure.

The cloud has transformed how we consume computing, but this journey is just beginning. The first generation of cloud infrastructure created abstractions similar to those of traditional infrastructure. As is typical, when new technology is introduced into any sphere, previous approaches are initially emulated. Only later are new approaches with transformational potential introduced.

Following this pattern, more radical changes in cloud computing are now underway. New workloads (e.g., machine learning, 5G, edge computing) are demanding unprecedented security, reliability, and performance. And business and society are demanding unprecedented cost-efficiency and environmental sustainability. These demands require ground-up thinking of the full stack. That includes new hardware (e.g., custom ASICs, TPUs, FPGAs) that fundamentally alters the cost and energy footprint of computation. It also includes new software (e.g., microservices, lambdas, containers, data managers) that isolates and secures applications while allowing them to leverage the capabilities of the underlying hardware.

The challenges facing the next-generation of cloud infrastructure are best addressed by industry and academia collaborating closely. Industry has intimate knowledge of technology trends, current and future bottlenecks, and practical constraints. Academia can pursue new ideas without expensive engineering effort, has expertise across a broad set of technologies in one place, and can train the next generation of engineers. The FOCI Center aims to enable this industry-academia collaboration.