Nikos Vasilakis

Postdoctoral researcher, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Nikos in Germany for EdgeSys18

Long-term, I am interested in lowering system complexity—the primary barrier to the scale of software systems humans can build and operate. For example, what does it take to make developing distributed systems as easy and flexible as ordinary scripting?

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at MIT CSAIL, working with Martin Rinard. I work on distributed systems, programming languages, and systems security---with recent work focusing on general-purpose distributed environments, application compartmentalization, sandboxing of third-party libraries, and distributed storage systems. I received a Ph.D. in Computer and Information Sciences from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.Sc./M.Eng. in Computer Engineering and Informatics from the University of Patras, Greece.

Office: MIT CSAIL, 32-G740 | E-mail: | GitHub: @nvasilakis

Recent Pre-prints

An Order-aware Dataflow Model for Extracting Shell Script Parallelism

Shivam Handa, Konstantinos Kallas, Nikos Vasilakis, Martin Rinard
pdf | code | arxiv | bibtex

Automatic Synthesis of Parallel and Distributed Unix Commands with KumQuat

Nikos Vasilakis*, Jiasi Shen*, Martin Rinard
pdf | code | arxiv | bibtex

Mir: Automated Quantifiable Privilege Reduction Against Dynamic Library Compromise in JavaScript

Nikos Vasilakis, Cristian-Alexandru Staicu, Grigoris Ntousakis, Konstantinos Kallas, Ben Karel, André DeHon, Michael Pradel
pdf | code | arxiv | bibtex

Recent Publications

The Once and Future Shell

Michael Greenberg, Konstantinos Kallas, Nikos Vasilakis
18th Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS XVIII)
pdf | code | bibtex

PaSh: Light-touch Data-Parallel Shell Processing

Nikos Vasilakis*, Konstantinos Kallas*, Konstantinos Mamouras, Achilles Benetopoulos, Lazar Cvetković
ACM European Conference on Computer Systems (EuroSys'21)
pdf | code | arxiv | bibtex

Active Learning for Software Engineering

José P. Cambronero, Thurston HY Dang, Nikos Vasilakis, Jiasi Shen, Jerry Wu, Martin Rinard
ACM Symposium on New Ideas, New Paradigms, and Reflections on Programming and Software (Onward! 2019)
pdf | bibtex

TMC: Pay-as-you-Go Distributed Communication

Henri Maxime Demoulin, Nikos Vasilakis, John Sonchack, Isaac Pedisich,
Vincent Liu, Boon Thau Loo, Linh Thi Xuan Phan, Jonathan M. Smith, Irene Zhang
3rd Asia-Pacific Workshop on Networking (APNet 2019)
pdf | bibtex

Detecting Application-layer Denial-of-Service Attacks with FineLame

Henri Maxime Demoulin, Isaac Pedisich, Nikos Vasilakis, Vincent Liu, Boon Thau Loo, Linh Thi Xuan Phan
USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC19)
pdf | bibtex

Ignis: Scaling Distribution-Oblivious Systems with Light-Touch Distribution

Nikos Vasilakis, Ben Karel, Yash Palkhiwala, John Sonchack, André DeHon, Jonathan M. Smith
ACM SIGPLAN conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation (PLDI19)
pdf | bibtex | video abstract

The Web as a Distributed Computing Platform

Nikos Vasilakis, Pranjal Goel, Henri Maxime Demoulin, Jonathan M. Smith
1st ACM Workshop on Edge Systems, Analytics and Networking (EdgeSys18)
Received Best Paper Award
pdf | bibtex

BreakApp: Automated, Flexible Application Compartmentalization

Nikos Vasilakis, Ben Karel, Nick Roessler, Nathan Dautenhahn, André DeHon, and Jonathan M. Smith
IEEE Networked and Distributed Systems Security Symposium (NDSS18)
html | pdf | bibtex | talk

(Full list of publications and bibtex entries.)


I am deeply interested in all forms of creative expression, and particularly any visual, auditory, and interactive art. My main contribution in this space was as a founding member of a music duo, Ailo. We released {downtempo, chill-out, ambient, downbeat, lounge} music under several record labels mostly across Europe — most notably Germany, Italy, the UK, Israel, the Netherlands, and Hungary. More than a decade later, you can still find it on Breatport, Spotify, iTunes,, Amazon, Google Music, and your favorite vinyl shop. It turns out, releasing music under record labels is surprisingly similar to peer-reviewed publishing in academia.

Other interests include art film, sports, photography, history, travelling, teaching, and natural languages.