Chang Lou
Assistant Professor, University of Virginia

mail chlou [AT] virginia [DOT] edu

Department of Computer Science
University of Virginia
Rice Hall 304, 85 Engineer’s Way
Charlottesville, VA 22904

We are hiring! Our lab has multiple Ph.D. student positions starting from Fall 2024. If you are interested in building/hacking systems, we should talk. [Link]
Update: GRE and standard application fee of $85 will be waived for all 2024 admissions.
For graduate/undergraduate students: we always look for research interns with enthusiasm to join our projects. Send me an email if you are interested.


I am a tenure-track assistant professor in Department of Computer Science at University of Virginia. My research centers on building robust and highly available systems. One major focus is to enhance the capabilities of distributed systems to detect, localize, and react to complex failures at runtime. I am also interested in solving reliability challenges in real-world systems from other domains, such as deep learning systems.

Our recent work includes developing principled approaches to deal with:


  • 2024/4: Received grants from 4-VA Collaborative Program. Thanks to 4-VA!
  • 2024/3: Invited to give a talk at the University of Chicago System Seminar.
  • 2024/3: Will be serving on NSDI’25 Program Committee.
  • 2023/12: Gave a talk to student interns in Alibaba on graduate school advice.
  • 2023/10: I’m honored that my Ph.D. thesis titled “Enhancing Cloud System Runtime to Address Complex Failures” has been recognized with an Honorable Mention for The SIGOPS Dennis M. Ritchie Doctoral Dissertation Award. A heartfelt thank you to Ryan, the best Ph.D. advisor ever, as well as my wonderful collaborators Suman and Ding!
  • 2023/10: Will be serving on EuroSys’25 Program Committee.
  • 2023/10: Did a talk on 2023 UVA CS Research Symposium, Securing A Bad Career In Ph.D. Program, revealing three most common pitfalls for junior Ph.D. students. (Chinese ver.)
  • 2023/9: Will be teaching CS4740: Cloud Computing with a new syllabus in Spring 2024. UVA undergraduates: if you are interested in principles and concepts behind cloud systems, this course is for you.
  • 2023/9: Received Google Cloud Computing Research Grants. Thank you Google!
  • 2023/8: A new chapter at UVA started.

Publication (selected)

Enhancing Cloud System Runtime to Address Complex Failures
Chang Lou
Ph.D. Dissertation (2023) The Dennis M. Ritchie Dissertation Award (Honorable Mention)

Demystifying and Checking Silent Semantic Violations in Large Distributed Systems
Chang Lou, Yuzhuo Jing, Peng Huang.
OSDI’22 [ slides, code, talk ]

RESIN: A Holistic Service for Dealing with Memory Leaks in Production Cloud Infrastructure
Chang Lou, Cong Chen, Peng Huang, Yingnong Dang, Si Qin, Xinsheng Yang, Xukun Li, Qingwei Lin, Murali Chintalapati.
OSDI’22 Deployed on Microsoft Azure [ slides, talk ]

Understanding, Detecting and Localizing Partial Failures in Large System Software
Chang Lou, Peng Huang, Scott Smith.
NSDI’20 Best Paper Award [ slides, talk ]
(A TL;DR version from Morning Paper)

Comprehensive and Efficient Runtime Checking in System Software through Watchdogs
Chang Lou, Peng Huang, Scott Smith.
HotOS’19 [ slides ]

Fast and Concurrent Distributed RDF Queries using RDMA-assisted GPU Graph Exploration
Siyuan Wang, Chang Lou, Rong Chen, Haibo Chen.
USENIX ATC’18 [ slides, code, poster ]


Academic Service

Program Committee

  • EuroSys’25, NSDI’25
  • ATC’24


Work Experience

  • Data Scientist Intern (part-time), Microsoft Azure, Nov 2021 - Jan 2022
  • Data Scientist Intern, Microsoft Azure, Jun 2021 - Aug 2021
  • Data Scientist Intern, Microsoft Azure, Jun 2020 - Sept 2020
  • Research Intern, Microsoft Research Asia, Oct 2015 - Jun 2016



I received my Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in May 2023, advised by Prof. Ryan (Peng) Huang. I obtained my B.S. degree in Computer Science from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in June 2016 and spent one gap year at IPADS working with Prof. Haibo Chen and Prof. Rong Chen.