Dr. Marco Serafini

Distributed Systems
+(974) 4454 2359
Working at QCRI gives me lots of freedom and resources to pursue my research goals. Qatar is a thriving country, with an intriguing mix of modernity and tradition.

Research Focus at QCRI

At QCRI, Marco works on the scalability, dependability, and consistency of large-scale distributed systems. He is currently involved in three projects:

·         Arabesque, a system for distributed graph mining

·         Elastic database management systems (Accordion, E-Store, Clay)

·         Load balancing in distributed stream processing systems


For more info visit his personal homepage

Previous Experience

Prior to joining QCRI, Marco worked at Yahoo! Research in Barcelona where he studied the problem of protecting large scale distributed systems from hardware data corruption, which is becoming more and more frequent in the newest generation of CPUs. Marco also worked on the formal analysis of the Zookeeper Atomic Broadcast (Zab) protocol and introduced the notion of barrier to determine the essential difference between active replication protocols like Paxos, which exchange operations, and passive ones like Zab, which exchange state updates. Finally, he developed social piggybacking, a technique to increase the throughput of social event feed systems by identifying central users that can relay information across neighborhoods.  Marco received his PhD at TU Darmstadt. His thesis introduced the concept of Eventual Linearizability, a correctness condition for systems that are usually strongly consistent and degrade consistency only when necessary. It also introduced Scrooge, a fast Byzantine fault tolerant algorithm running on a small set of replicas.

Professional Experience

  • Yahoo! Research Barcelona (Spain), Visiting scientist, 2010-2012

Professional Associations and Awards

Professional Service:

Marco has been or will be PC member of Eurosys 2016, ICDCS 2016, ICDE 2016, SRDS 2106, IC2E 2016, SIGMOD 2016 demo, ICDCS 2015, WWW 2015, SRDS 2015, OPODIS 2014, SSS 2014, Middleware 2012 (Industry track), EDCC 2012, SOFSEM 2011

He is the co-PC chair of the PaPoC 2015 workshop (Principles and Practice of Consistency for Distributed Data), colocated with Eurosys 2015


Nominated for the “Best PhD Thesis of 2010” by the German, Swiss and Austrian Computer Science societies and the German chapter of ACM for PhD thesis titled “Efficient and Low-Cost Fault-Tolerance for Web-Based Systems”


  • PhD in computer science, TU Darmstadt (Germany), 2010

Selected Research

  • Carlos T. H. Teixeira, Alex J. Fonseca, Marco Serafini, Georgos Siganos, Mohammed J. Zaki, Ashraf Aboulnaga, "Arabesque: A System for Distributed Graph Mining". ACM Symp. on Operating Systems Principles (SOSP) 2015
  • Diogo Behrens, Marco Serafini, Sergei Arnautov, Flavio P. Junqueira, Christof Fetzer, "Scalable error isolation for distributed systems". USENIX Symp. on Networked Systems Design and Implementation (NSDI) 2015
  • Muhammad Anis Uddin Nasir, Gianmarco De Francisci Morales, David García-Soriano, Nicolas Kourtellis, Marco Serafini, "The Power of Both Choices: Practical Load Balancing for Distributed Stream Processing Engines". IEEE Int. Conf. on Data Engineering (ICDE) 2015.
  • Rebecca Taft, Essam Mansour, Marco Serafini, Jennie Duggan, Aaron J. Elmore, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Andrew Pavlo, Michael Stonebraker. "E-Store: Fine-Grained Elastic Partitioning for Distributed Transactions Processing Systems". Int. Conf. on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) 2015
  • Marco Serafini, Essam Mansour, Ashraf Aboulnaga, Kenneth Salem, Taha Rafiq, Umar Farooq Minhas. "Accordion: Elastic Scalability for Database Systems Supporting Distributed Transactions". Int. Conf. on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) 2014 
  • Flavio P. Junqueira and Marco Serafini.  "On Barriers and the Gap between Active and Passive Replication".  Int. Symp. on Distributed Computing (DISC) 2013.
  • Aristides Gionis, Flavio Junqueira, Vincent Leroy, Marco Serafini, Ingmar Weber, "Piggybacking on social networks", Int. Conf. on Very Large Data Bases (VLDB) 2013
  • M. Correia, D. Gómez Ferro, F. Junqueira, M. Serafini, “Practical Hardening of Crash-Tolerant Systems”, USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC) 2012. [video, slides]
  • F. Junqueria, B. Reed and M. Serafini, “Zab: High-Performance Broadcast for Primary-Backup Systems”, IEEE Int’l Conf. on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN) 2011.
  • M. Serafini, D. Dobre, M. Majuntke, P. Bokor and N. Suri, “Eventually Linearizable Shared Objects”,ACM Symp on Principles of Distributed Computing (PODC), 2010.
  • Marco Serafini and Flavio Junqueira. "Weak Consistency as a Last Resort". Workshop on Large-Scale Distributed Systems and Middleware (LADIS) 2010.
  • M. Serafini, P. Bokor, D. Dobre, M. Majuntke, and N. Suri, "Scrooge: Reducing the cost of fast Byzantine replication in presence of unresponsive replicas", IEEE Int. Conf. on Dependable Systems and Networks (DSN), 2010.
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Upcoming Events


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QCRI Summer Internship Program

Download ICS File 06/05/2018  - 05/07/2018 , Hamad Bin Khalifa Research Complex

Each year, Qatar Computing Research Institute organizes a summer internship program for undergraduate students studying computer science, computer engineering and other disciplines. The internship is unpaid, and QCRI does not provide any visa support.

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Past Events


(MLDAS 2018) Machine Learning and Data Analytics Symposium

Download ICS File 12/03/2018  - 13/03/2018 ,

Machine Learning and Data Analytics Symposium - MLDAS 2018 Building on the success of the three previous events , Boeing and QCRI will hold the fifth Machine Learning and Data Analytics Symposium (...

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QCRI's Creative Space to hold free app inventor workshop

Download ICS File 01/02/2018 ,

QCRI is to offer an introduction to mobile app development workshop for boys and girls aged 13-16. Students will learn the basics of mobile app development using the App Inventor platform. The ...

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