For his landmark contributions to the structuring, robustness, scalability, and security of software systems, enabling efficient, mobile, and highly distributed applications and setting important research directions. Frans Kaashoek's work on lightweight operating system kernels, the use of distributed hash tables, efficient software-based network routing, and the use of information flow control in distributed systems have changed the structure of software systems. His research on exokernels demonstrated that significant functionality could be moved from the operating system into applications, improving flexibility and robustness while preserving performance and providing tailored application access to low-level services. Those ideas are widely used in portable embedded systems. His contributions to distributed hash tables enable both robustness and scalability of distributed systems and are incorporated in many products, including peer-to-peer file sharing systems, and content distribution systems. His use of information flow control to prevent unauthorized information disclosure while providing needed access to information addresses a major security challenge in broadly-deployed commercial systems. Much of his work has been done in collaboration with outstanding graduate students and research colleagues. His intellectual leadership in these collaborations has been both strong and sustained.
For contributions to distributed, mobile, and parallel systems.
Frans's research interest is computer systems: operating systems, networking, programming languages, compilers, and computer architecture for distributed, mobile, and parallel systems. The home page for the Parallel and Distributed Operating Systems group describes current projects.
In 1998 Frans cofounded Sightpath Inc, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2000. He also helped found Mazu Networks Inc and served on its board until Riverbed Technology Inc acquired Mazu in 2009.