Teaching Schedule

  • 2016–2017 Academic year: sabbatical leave

Recent Courses

Research Interests

I am interested in a wide range of topics related to infrastructure for building software systems, including distributed systems, operating systems, storage systems, development frameworks, and programming languages. Most of my current research is in the area of granular computing: new software stack layers that allow the execution of large numbers of very small tasks (as short as a few microseconds) in a datacenter. This work includes RAMCloud, a storage system that keeps all data in DRAM and offers remote access times less than 5 microseconds, as well as newer projects developing new techniques for thread management, network communication, and logging.

I am also Faculty Director of the Stanford Platform Lab, a research group that includes several faculty and projects in the areas of distributed systems, large-scale systems, and networking.


I received a BS in Physics from Yale University in 1975 and a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University in 1980.

From 1980–1994 I was a Professor of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley. My research projects included design tools for integrated circuits such as the Magic layout editor and the Crystal timing analyzer, the Sprite network operating system, log-structured file systems, the Tcl scripting language, and the Tk toolkit.

In 1994 I left Berkeley to fulfill a long-standing desire to build commercial software. From 1994–1998 I was a Distinguished Engineer at Sun Microsystems Laboratories. In 1998 I founded Scriptics Corporation to commercialize Tcl development tools, where I was CEO until 2000. In 2002 I founded Electric Cloud. I was at Electric Cloud until 2007, and I led the development of a parallel build system (ElectricAccelerator) and a Web-based server for managing distributed processes such as nightly builds and automated tests (ElectricCommander).

In 2008 I returned to academia in the Department of Computer Science at Stanford.

Selected Publications

  1. A. Kejriwal, A. Gopalan, A. Gupta, Z. Jia, S. Yang, and J. Ousterhout, "SLIK: Scalable Low-Latency Indexes for a Key-Value Store," 2016 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC '16), June 2016, pp. 57–70.
  2. C. Lee, S. J. Park, A. Kejriwal, S. Matsushita, and J. Ousterhout, "Implementing Linearizability at Large Scale and Low Latency", Proc. 25th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, October 2015, pp. 71–86.
  3. J. Ousterhout, A. Gopalan, A. Gupta, A. Kejriwal, C. Lee, B. Montazeri, D. Ongaro, S. J. Park, H. Qin, M. Rosenblum, S. Rumble, R. Stutsman, and S. Yang, "The RAMCloud Storage System," ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, Vol. 33, No. 3, August 2015, pp. 7:1–7:55.
  4. R. Stutsman, C. Lee, and J. Ousterhout, " Experience with Rules-Based Programming for Distributed, Concurrent, Fault-Tolerant Code," 2015 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC '15), July 2015, pp. 17–30.
  5. D. Ongaro and J. Ousterhout, "In Search of an Understandable Consensus Algorithm," 2014 USENIX Annual Technical Conference (USENIX ATC '14), June 2014, pp. 305–319.
  6. J. Ousterhout, "Scripting: Higher-Level Programming for the 21st Century," IEEE Computer, Vol. 31, No. 3, March 1998, pp. 23–30.
  7. J. Ousterhout, Tcl and the Tk Toolkit, Addison-Wesley, Reading Massachusetts, 1994, 460 pages.
  8. M. Rosenblum and J. Ousterhout, "The Design and Implementation of a Log-Structured File System," ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, Vol. 10, No. 1, February 1992, pp. 26–52.
  9. M. Nelson, B. Welch, and J. Ousterhout, "Caching in the Sprite Network File System," ACM Transactions on Computer Systems, Vol. 6, No. 1, February 1988, pp. 134–154.
  10. J. Ousterhout, H. Da Costa, D. Harrison, J. Kunze, M. Kupfer, and J. Thompson, "A Trace-Driven Analysis of the UNIX 4.2 BSD File System," Proc. 10th ACM Symposium on Operating Systems Principles, December 1985, pp. 15–24.
  11. J. Ousterhout, "Corner Stitching: A Data Structuring Technique for VLSI Layout Tools," IEEE Transactions on Computer-Aided Design, Vol. CAD–3, No. 1, January 1984, pp. 87–100.
  12. J. Ousterhout, "Scheduling Techniques for Concurrent Systems," Proc. 3rd International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, October 1982, pp. 22–30.

Selected Awards and Honors

  • IEEE Reynold B. Johnson Information Storage Systems Award (2014)
  • National Academy of Engineering (2001)
  • ACM Software System Award (1997)
  • ACM Fellow (1994)
  • ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award (1987)
  • U.C. Berkeley Distinguished Teaching Award (1985)
  • National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator (1984–1989)
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship (1976–1979)

Contact Information

Gates 310

Office Hours

See Google calendar, or by appointment

Administrative Support

Sue George
Gates 303

Add ".stanford.edu" to all e-mail addresses above.