Amy Babay

image of Amy Babay

Department of Computer Science
Johns Hopkins University

Malone 207
3400 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218

babay (at)

I am currently a third-year PhD student in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University, where my advisor is Yair Amir. I am a member of the Distributed Systems and Networks lab.

I completed my Masters in Computer Science in May 2014 at Johns Hopkins and worked at LTN Global Communications before starting my PhD. I received my B.A. in Cognitive Science from Johns Hopkins in May 2012. As an undergraduate, I was a research assistant in the Language Acquisition lab. For more information about my experiences, see my resume.


Dependable Infrastructure

I am interested in building networked systems that maintain correct operation and predictable performance, even in the presence of partial failures or compromises. I am currently working on applying intrusion-tolerant principles to create SCADA systems (particularly for the power grid) that can continue to operate correctly and at their required levels of performance even when part of the system has been compromised by a sophisticated attacker.

I am additionally interested in consistent state maintenance in the presence of failures, including approaches such as Paxos and Extended Virtual Synchrony, as well as resilient (including intrusion-tolerant) systems more generally.

ICDCS 2016: Daniel Obenshain, Thomas Tantillo, Amy Babay, John Schultz, Andrew Newell, Md. Endadul Hoque, Yair Amir, and Cristina Nita-Rotaru, "Practical Intrusion-Tolerant Networks," in Proceedings of the IEEE 36th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Nara, Japan, June 2016, pp. 45-56 [PDF, Earlier Technical Report]

Real-time Reliable Internet Services

I am working on providing reliable, low-latency messaging on a continent or global scale using overlay networks. After finishing my Masters degree, I gained exposure to overlay technologies in the commercial world, working at LTN Global Communications. LTN is a cloud service provider that operates global overlay networks, transporting live video for the TV and media industries.

I am exploring techniques to enable services with extremely low latency requirements (e.g. remote manipulation) using new overlay dissemination protocols. This includes work with Michael Dinitz and Yair Amir on constructing dissemination graphs that provide a good tradeoff between reliability and cost.

This video shows me interacting with a Phantom Omni haptic device over a wide-area network. The signal from each device is sent halfway across the US before being sent back to the other device, so the latency is as if one device is on the East coast and the other is on the West coast. You can hear this latency when I tap on the desk. My work in this area aims to enable such low-latency communication and interaction with high reliability.

ICDCS 2017: Amy Babay, Emily Wagner, Michael Dinitz, and Yair Amir, "Timely, Reliable, and Cost-Effective Internet Transport Service using Dissemination Graphs," in Proceedings of the IEEE 37th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Atlanta, GA, June 2017. (To appear). [Technical Report]

DSN 2015 Student Forum: Amy Babay, "Timely, Reliable, and Cost-effective Transport Service using Dissemination Graphs," IEEE International Conference on Dependable Systems and Networks Student Forum, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2015. [PDF]

Accelerated Ring Protocol

I developed a reliable, ordered multicast protocol based on a logical token ring that improves the state-of-the-art performance on 1-gigabit and 10-gigabit local area networks. The Accelerated Ring protocol circulates the token more quickly, reducing the impact of latency due to buffering and allowing for controlled parallelism in sending. I incorporated the Accelerated Ring protocol into the messaging protocol of the Spread Toolkit. A version of Spread that includes this protocol was released as an experimental version in July 2013, and the Accelerated Ring protocol is the toolkit's standard protocol for data center environments as of version 4.4.0.

ICDCS 2016: Amy Babay and Yair Amir, "Fast Total Ordering for Modern Data Centers," in Proceedings of the IEEE 36th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Nara, Japan, June 2016, pp. 669-679, DOI 10.1109/ICDCS.2016.20 [PDF, Extended Technical Report, IEEEXplore]

ICDCS 2015 Poster: Amy Babay and Yair Amir, "Fast Total Ordering for Modern Data Centers," in Proceedings of the IEEE 35th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Columbus, OH, June 2015, pp. 762-763, DOI 10.1109/ICDCS.2015.97 [Poster, Extended Abstract, IEEEXplore]

Masters Thesis: Amy Babay, The Accelerated Ring Protocol: Ordered Multicast for Modern Data Centers, Master's thesis, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, May 2014. [PDF]

Honors and Awards

  • Computer Science Department Special Service Award (May 2015): for "outstanding work to benefit the department, Johns Hopkins University, and the community"


  • Co-instructor (with Yair Amir) for Intermediate Programming (CS120): Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015
  • Special help for Distributed Systems (CS437): Fall 2012, Fall 2014