Sky Seminar Series: Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau (UW Madison) – A Separate Piece: On the Utility of Key/Value Separation

Speaker: Remzi Arpaci-Dusseau
Location: Soda 380
Date: February 28, 2024
Time: 11am-12pm PST

A Separate Piece: On The Utility of Key/Value Separation

Abstract: In this talk, I will discuss an age-old systems technique — key/value separation — and show its utility in modern storage systems. I will start with a historical perspective, and then present three systems we have built that greatly benefit from judicious application of this approach, including a high-performance key-value storage system, a fast parallel sort on modern hardware, and a scalable distributed database.

I am the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor and Grace Wahba Professor in the Computer Sciences Department at UW-Madison. I co-lead a group with Professor Andrea Arpaci-Dusseau.  Together, we have graduated 28 Ph.D. students, won numerous best-paper awards, and one test-of-time award; many of our innovations are used by commercial systems. I received the ACM-SIGOPS Weiser award for “outstanding leadership, innovation, and impact in storage and computer systems research”, was named an ACM Fellow for “contributions to storage and computer systems”, and an AAAS Fellow for “distinguished contributions to computer systems research and development of computing systems with concomitant devotion to computing education for everyone”. I have won the SACM Professor-of-the-Year award seven times, the Rosner “Excellent Educator” award, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Our operating systems book ( is downloaded millions of times yearly and used at numerous institutions worldwide; it is usually the top-selling book on Amazon in operating system theory.