Margo Seltzer to Keynote at 35th MSST Conference

Margo Seltzer was selected to keynote at the Massive Storage Systems and Technology Conference (MSST) on May 22 in Santa Clara, California. Now on its 35th conference, MSST is the premiere large-scale storage conference that focuses on current challenges and future trends in distributed storage system technologies and extreme scale storage, drawing a diverse group of system designers and implementers, storage architects, researchers, and vendors from both industry and academia. Margo will be speaking on The Importance of Provenance in Storage.

Margo Seltzer

Margo Seltzer is the Canada 150 Research Chair in Computer Systems and the Cheriton Family Chair in Computer Science at the University of British Columbia. She is also the author of several widely-used software packages including database and transaction libraries and the 4.4BSD log-structured file system, and is currently an Architect at Oracle Corporation. Previously, Margo was founder and CTO of Sleepycat Software, the makers of Berkeley DB.

“The incredible growth and success that our field has experienced over the past half a century has has the side effect of transforming systems into a constellation of siloed fields; storage is one of them,” notes Margo when discussing her keynote. “I’m going to make the case that we should return to a road interpretation of systems, undertaking bolder, higher risk projects, and be intentional about how we interact with other fields. I’ll support the case with examples or several research projects that embody this approach.”

As an academic, Margo has been giving talks and keynoting for many years. Fortunately, she never had to struggle with being taken seriously in her field as a female. For a long time she was just oblivious to gender bias, and by the time she figured it out she was much more likely to be seeing her junior colleagues treated badly, and she was senior enough to be able to stand up for them.

Margo’s perspective on increasing diversity in tech is that the majority (i.e., white men) must take the lead in the effort by advocating for things like blind review and maintaining a list of high profile women to be invited for keynotes and nominated for awards. “It’s too easy to simply go with the people you think of first who are just like you,” notes Margo. “More careful thought usually reveals the forgotten and overlooked populations.”

MSST operates as a single-track conference and has a proud history of high-quality technical talks focused on applying and designing massive storage. Key 2019 conference themes include: storage in the age of AI, addressing the gaps between storage needs and haves, user requirements of storage at scale, resilience at scale, and next generation and future storage systems. This year’s agenda includes one day of tutorials, two days of invited papers, and two days of peer-reviewed research papers.

Past conference topics have included Emerging Open Source Storage System Design for Hyperscale Computing, Leveraging New Persistent Memory Technologies for Scalability, and How Can Extreme-Scale Storage Systems Support Containerization? Past speakers have included Gary Grider, High Performance Computing Division Leader Los Alamos National Laboratory, Dr. Kimberly Keeton, Distinguished Technologist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Jeff Bonwick, VP and CTO, DSSD at Dell EMC, EMC DSSD, and Scott Miller, Technology Fellow at Dreamworks Feature Animation.

The conference will be held at the Santa Clara University campus in Silicon Valley, California, with early bird registration available through May 7.