Howard Gobioff

Formerly, Doctoral Student

 Computer Science Department  at  Carnegie Mellon University

Currently: Working at Google. Building bigger, faster systems that change the way people find information.


computer security, electronic commerce, distributed systems, networking, operating systems, storage systems


Current Research

I finished my doctoral dissertation  on  "Security of Network-Attached Storage" advised by  Garth Gibson  and  Doug Tygar in late 1999.
My research was part of the  Network-Attached Secure Disks  (NASD) project in the  Parallel Data Lab   along with the  NSIC/NASD  industry consortium.

The focus of my current research is a security system for network attached storage that balances security and performance while taking into consideration the diverse set of applications that run on storage as well as the cost-sensitive nature of storage devices. I've examined a variety of aspects of the problem including access control policies of different file systems, properties of storage system workloads, and the internal architecture of a modern hard drive in order to understand how construct a security system that helps deliver both the throughput and scaling advantages of a network attached storage architecture.

The research problem I address in my dissertation is "How do you provide security, which becomes necessary once storage is directly attached to the network, from a commodity network attached storage device while delivering the underlying performance of the NASD storage architecture?" The security mechanism I designed and implemented for the dissertation was used in prototypes of both AFS and NFS filesystems adapted to the NASD architecture.

Using traces both I collected of an AFS server and NFS traces from UC Berkeley, I refined the basic security mechanism to reduce the frequency with which clients must consult the server for security reasons which increase the scalability of the server. Since drives may not have large amounts of excess CPU or only limited hardware support for cryptographic operations, I developed a precomputed digest optimizations that reduce computational cost of protecting integrity in many cases and allows drives to deliver greater integrity-protected read bandwidth to clients. Finally, since cryptographic performance may be expensive in a commodity device, I simulated how different amounts of cryptographic performance being for integrity impacts the overall request latency seen by clients.

Currently, I work as a software engineer at building big, fast, scalable systems that change the way people find information.

Former Affiliations

Summer 1996   Designed and built Electronic Commerce System prototypes at NTT Data's Network Technology Group in Tokyo
Summer 1994   Worked in the functional verification group of the Workplace OS project at IBM's Boca Raton site
Summer 1993   Built prototype ISDN multi-media delivery system at Bell Communication Research (now Telecordia Technologies, Inc.)
Summer 1992   Built visualization applications and tools for research as a member of the Scientific Visualization Group at Argonne National Lab
1989 - 1993      Attended  University of Maryland, College Park and studied Computer Science and Mathematics


Additional Information

Contact Information

hgobioff AT cs _DOT_ cmu _DOT_ edu
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