Provenance Everywhere

02 Nov
11/02/2011 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm
Distinguished Lecturer Series

Margo I. Seltzer
Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

Computer Science Building, Rooms 150 & 151

Faculty Host: Emery Berger

Digital provenance describes the ancestry or history of a digital object.  Computer science research in provenance has addressed issues in provenance capture in operating systems, command shells, languages, workflow systems and applications. However, it's time to begin thinking seriously about provenance interoperability, what it means, and how we can achieve it.  We have undertaken several projects that integrate provenance across multiple platforms. Doing so introduces many challenging research opportunities.

In this talk, I'll present our Provenance-Aware Storage System, focusing on our experiences integrating provenance across different layers of abstraction. I'll present some of our use cases and discuss important issues for further research.


Margo I. Seltzer is the Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science and a Harvard College Professor in the Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. She received an A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1983 and a Ph. D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992. She is the author of several widely-used software packages including database and transaction libraries and the 4.4BSD log-structured file system. Dr. Seltzer was a founder and CTO of Sleepycat Software, the makers of Berkeley DB and is now an Architect for Oracle Corporation. Before pursuing an academic career, professor Seltzer spent several years working at startup companies designing and implementing file systems and transaction processing software and designing microprocessors. She is a Sloan Foundation Fellow in Computer Science, a Bunting Fellow, and was the recipient of the 1996 Radcliffe Junior Faculty Fellowship, and the University of California Microelectronics Scholarship. She is recognized as an outstanding teacher and won the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award in 1996 and the Abrahmson Teaching Award in 1999.

Professor Seltzer's research focuses on how to make computer systems better for users. Better can mean faster, more reliable, or easier to use. It can also mean that the pieces of a system, its storage, operating system and applications, work together more gracefully. Her research activities range from designing and building new storage systems to building new operating sytems (e.g., VINO) to developing systems for collecting and tracking provenance of digital data. Professor Seltzer and her colleagues in systems form the Systems Research Group at Harvard. For more detailed information on current projects and activities, consult the SYRAH website.

A reception will be held at 3:40 in the atrium, outside the presentation room.