To begin this interview, we are curious about how you were called to the life of science. When and why did you decide to become a scientist?
My undergraduate training was in engineering at the University of Belgrade, Serbia, and I took a bit of a circuitous route to becoming a scientist. I worked for a while as a software engineer after obtaining my Masters degree at the University of Texas at Dallas, USA. During this time, I honed in on the area I really liked – distributed systems – and realized that I could make contributions to the state-of-the-art in the field, and ultimately decided to pursue a PhD.
What training and background do you have as a researcher? I completed my PhD at Duke University, USA. I spent the last year and a half of my studies at University of California, San Diego, where my advisor had moved. In both places, I have been very fortunate to work with stellar researchers. My PhD work concentrated on fast and reliable distribution of large content (e.g., movies) to millions of users across the Internet.
During the last seven years I was a tenure-track assistant professor at EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland, where I concentrated on improving reliability of distributed systems and producing networks and systems that mimic the energy-proportionality of biological systems.
How did you get the opportunity to come and work in Madrid? What institutions have you been connected to so far? I was invited to give a talk at the IMDEA Networks Annual Workshop in 2010. I was very impressed with the Institute, and the rest is history. It did not hurt that I fell in love with Madrid as well.
What interested you most about the IMDEA project? What made you want to become involved?I truly appreciate and believe in the IMDEA project. I think it is as close to a research heaven as a place can possibly be. It is small and nimble, and it provides the right environment for researchers to make key contributions and have great impact on their research areas and society as a whole.
In what research lines will you be working? What specific results do you expect to see?I will mainly continue working on my European Research Council “PROPHET” project on simplifying development and deployment of High-Performance, Reliable distributed systems. In particular, I will concentrate on making it easy to produce reliable Software Defined Networks that are using OpenFlow. I will also be pursuing research directions on making it easy to deploy applications in the so-called “cloud”.
Did you know Spain before joining IMDEA? What do you like best about Madrid? I visited Barcelona and Madrid a few times before joining IMDEA Networks. I love the fact that Madrid is a large and vibrant city. I love the energy of the people and that they are very open and welcoming. My favorite spot is the Penthouse lounge bar on top of a hotel at the Plaza de Santa Ana. I am grateful to Sophie, who worked at IMDEA Networks at the time, for recommending this place to me.