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

Mike Swift is an professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the Department of Computer Sciences.


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.

Research groups

I lead the Sonar research group and co-lead the Multifacet group. I'm also part of the Wisconsin Institute on Software-defined Datacenters in Madison (WISDoM).

2020-21 committee assignments

Instructional Program Director
Curriculum and eduction committee member
Diversity, equity, and inclusion committee chair
CDIS Diversity Working Group
Letters and Sciences Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
Letters and Sciences Curriculum Committee

Research services

Editor in Chief, ACM Tranasctions on Computer Systems