Brent Stephens

Research Assistant Professor

The University of Utah


Broadly speaking, I am interested in most aspects of data center networking. I am especially interested in the intersection of network systems, operating systems, and computer architecture.

In addition to my interests in computer science, I enjoy participating in many hobbies, including music, kaizo Mario, biking, boarding, and brewing. I enjoy many types of biking, from commuting on a road bike to riding dirt jumps on a BMX or mountain bike.


  • Networking
  • Operating Systems
  • Data Center Applications


  • Postdoctoral Researcher, 2015-2018


  • PhD, Computer Science, 2015

    Rice University

  • MS, Computer Science, 2012

    Rice University

  • BS, Electrical Engineering, 2009

    Rice University

Recent Highlights

NSF CNS Core: Small: Network-wide Policy Enforcement in Programmable Networks using Logical Queues

NSF CAREER: NIC-Accelerated Active Messaging as a Generic Replacement for RDMA

This proposal aims to fundamentally rethink the design of server-side networking and develop new networking abstractions for Network Interface Card (NIC) accelerated messaging.

NSF CRII: NeTS: Rethinking Flow Control for Cloud Data Center Networks

This proposal makes the case for fundamentally rethinking how queuing and flow control are performed in both physical and virtual switches.

Research Interests

I am looking for motivated and passionate students. If you are interested in working with me, please feel free to reach out and start a conversation with me. My interests in computer science are broad, and I am willing to entertain any compelling projects. However, I am currently particularly interested in the following research areas:

  • Designing new switch programs that fundamentally rethink flow control, e.g., how switch should drop packets, and how switches should avoid dropping packets.

  • New architectures for reconfigurable match table (RMT) switches and NICs.

  • Explicitly co-scheduling network and CPU resources so as to maximize high-level application and infrastructure objectives.

  • Integrating programmable NICs and switches into the OS and network core by developing new protocols and offloads that treat the servers and network in a cluster as a single heterogeneous processor.

  • New abstractions and frameworks for developing microservices and function chains.


See here or Google Scholar for a full publication list


I am currently advising the following students:

Past students:

Professional Activities

Program committees:

  • NSDI 2022, SIGCOMM 2021, CoNEXT 2021, ANCS 2021, SOSR 2021, SOSR 2020, ANCS 2019, APNet 2018, Usenix ATC 2018

NSF Panels:

  • One panel in 2021, one panel in 2019, one panel in 2016, and one panel in 2015