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Mahadev Satyanarayanan

Professor, School of Computer Science


Mahadev Satyanarayanan

Research Areas



Mahadev Satyanarayanan is the Carnegie Group Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University.  From May 2001 to May 2004 he served as the founding director of Intel Research Pittsburgh, one of four university-affiliated research labs established worldwide by Intel to create disruptive information technologies through its Open Collaborative Research model. He is a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE, and was the founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Pervasive Computing.

As an experimental computer scientist, Satyanarayanan designs, implements, and evaluates systems. His research interests span mobile computing, pervasive computing and distributed systems (especially distributed file systems). Performance, availability, security, usability and manageability are some of the key attributes that he pays attention to in his work.

One outcome of Satyanarayanan's studies is the Coda File System, which supports disconnected and bandwidth-adaptive operation. Key ideas from Coda have been incorporated by Microsoft into the IntelliMirrorcomponent of Windows. Another outcome is Odyssey, a set of open-source operating system extensions for enabling mobile applications to adapt to variation in critical resources such as bandwidth and energy. Coda and Odyssey are building blocks in Project Aura, a research initiative at Carnegie Mellon to build a distraction-free ubiquitous computing environment. Earlier, Satyanarayanan was a principal architect and implementor of the Andrew File System (AFS), which was commercialized by IBM.


Ph.D., Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon.

Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.

Professional Background

Early in his career, Satya was a principal architect and implementor of the Andrew File System (AFS) which pioneered the use of scalable file caching, ACL-based security, and volume-based system administration for enterprise-scale information sharing. AFS was commercialized by IBM, is in widespread use today as OpenAFS, and has heavily influenced  the NFS v4  network file system protocol standard that was published in April 2003.

Research Projects

Transient Customization of Mobile Computing Infrastructure

Research Area: Mobility
Researcher: Mahadev Satyanarayanan


"Edge Analytics in the Internet of Things". Satyanarayanan, M., Simoens, P., Xiao, Y., Pillai, P., Chen, Z., Ha, K., Hu, W., Amos, B. IEEE Pervasive Computing, Volume 14, Number 2, April-June 2015.

"Early Implementation Experience with Wearable Cognitive Assistance Applications". Chen, Z., Jiang, L., Hu, W., Ha, K., Amos, B., Pillai, P., Hauptmann, A., Satyanarayanan, M. Proceedings of WearSys 2015, Florence, Italy, May 2015.

"An Open Ecosystem for Mobile-Cloud Convergence". Satyanarayanan, M., Schuster, R., Ebling, M., Fettweis, G., Flinck, J., Joshi, K., Sabnani, K. IEEE Communications Magazine, Volume 53, Number 3, March 2015.

"The Case for Offload Shaping". Hu, W., Amos, B., Chen, Z., Ha, K., Richter, W., Pillai, P., Gilbert, B., Harkes, J., Satyanarayanan, M. Proceedings of HotMobile 2015, Santa Fe, NM, February 2015.

"Cloudlets: at the Leading Edge of Mobile-Cloud Convergence (Invited Paper)". Satyanarayanan, M., Chen, Z., Ha, K., Hu, W., Richter, W., Pillai, P. Proceedings of MobiCASE 2014: Sixth International Conference on Mobile Computing, Applications and Services, Austin, TX, November 2014.

"A Brief History of Cloud Offload". Satyanarayanan, M. GetMobile, Volume 18, Issue 4, October 2014.

"Towards Wearable Cognitive Assistance". Ha, K., Chen, Z., Hu, W., Richter, W., Pillai, P., and Satyanarayanan, M. Proceedings of the Twelfth International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services (MobiSys 2014), Bretton Woods, NH, June 2014.

"Agentless Cloud-wide Streaming of Guest File System Updates". Richter, W., Isci, C., Harkes, J., Gilbert, B., Bala, V., and Satyanarayanan, M. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Cloud Engineering (IC2E 2014), Boston, MA, March 2014.

"QuiltView: a Crowd-Sourced Video Response System". Chen, Z., Hu, W., Ha, K., Harkes, J., Gilbert, B., Hong, J., Smailagic, A., Siewiorek, D., Satyanarayanan, M. Proceedings of HotMobile 2014, Santa Barbara, CA, February 2014

Recent Work

CyLab Chronicles