Michael Swift -- University of Wisconsin Madison Michael Swift -- University of Wisconsin Madison


Computer Sciences Department
College of Letters and Sciences
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Michael Swift is a professor at the University of Wisconsin--Madison in the Department of Computer Sciences. His research focuses on the hardware/operating system boundary, including virtual memory, persistence and storage, new compute technologies, and device drivers. He received his BA from Cornell University in 1992 and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2005. Before graduate school, he worked at Microsoft in the Windows group, where he implemented authentication and access control functionality in Windows Cairo, Windows NT, and Windows 2000.


My research focuses on bridging the growing gap between hardware and operating systems. My work seeks to improve the reliability and performance of hardware access while simplifying the programmer’s task.

I frequently collaborate with computer architecture researchers to investigate new processor technologies, such as transactional memory, heterogeneous processors, and hardware accelerators. Our research has demonstrated how relatively modest changes to existing operating systems could greatly improve the efficiency of these new hardware designs.

Most recently, my work has expanded to new storage technologies. Solid-state storage technologies, such as flash and Intel's 3D Xpoint memory promise large-capacity storage at speeds much faster than disk. My ongoing work focuses on how these technologies change system software, and specifically, on how to expose it to applications.

I also have research projects on high-speed data center networking in collaboration with Professor Aditya Akella at UW--Madison, and cloud computing security with Professor Jeff Chase at Duke University.

My graduate work focused on device-driver reliability and showed how operating systems could be made robust against crashes in this critical piece of code. We then expanded upon this work to focus on how to simplify coding device drivers, how to make operating systems tolerate failures of attached devices and how to simplify the testing process for driver code.


Prior to arriving in Wisconsin, I received a Ph.D. from the University of Washington, Seattle in 2006 under advisors Hank Levy and Brian Bershad. Before entering graduate school, I worked at Microsoft in the Windows NT group, where I implemetned authentication and access control functionality in Windows Cairo, Windows NT and Windows 2000. I attended Cornell University and earned a B.A. in Computer Science in 1992.

2022-23 committee assignments

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Chair, CS Diversity, equity, and inclusion committee
Member, CS Department Award Committee
Member, Letters and Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Member, Letters and Sciences Curriculum Committee
Member, International Academic Programs Faculty Advisory Committee

Research services

Editor in Chief, ACM Tranasctions on Computer Systems


All research

My research covers interaction of operating systems and hardware, including devices and new processor/memory technologies.

  • I lead the SCAIL research group on system support for novel technologies.
  • Previously, I led the Sonar research group on system support for novel technologies.
  • I also co-led the Multifacet group on computer architecture with Mark Hill.
  • I'm also part of the Wisconsin Institute on Software-defined Datacenters in Madison (WISDoM)
  • .


    • New memory technology. New uses and interfaces to flash and storage class memory.
    • Cloud computing. Investigating security issues in cloud computing
    • Heterogeneous and accelerated processors. System and scheduling support for accelerators and dynamically heterogeneous processors.
    • Data-center networking. End-host network scheduling. congestion control for RDMA and software offloads to smart NICs.
    • Transactional memory. Making transactions and the operating system work together.
    • Device drivers. Improving driver code and design through new architectures, better understanding, and bug finding.

    Recent publications

    Contact Information

    swift at cs dot wisc dot edu

    7369 Computer Sciences
    Computer Sciences Department
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    1210 West Dayton Street
    Madison, WI 53706-1685 USA