About Me

I am a professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University and at Carnegie Mellon University-Africa. My group focuses on developing models and designing algorithms and frameworks to improve the performance and availability of computer networks. In particular, my group explores the critical role that network state plays in determining network performance and availability with the state’s inherent semantics and emergent state management techniques by investigating designs and algorithms to more holistically understand and manage this state. More recently, we have applied this approach to addressing the digital divide, improving microservices/clouds, managing software defined networks, and rethinking CDN designs. Our designs and systems have been deployed at web scale companies, adopted by opensource systems, and acquired by a large hardware manufacturer.

Hiring: I am actively recruiting MS, PhD, and Post-Docs.

  1. Post-Docs: I am looking to hire 2 post-doc researchers who specialize in programmable networks (e.g., eBPF, P4) or network measurements, starting in mid-2024. We are actively seeking highly motivated PhD students interested. Send me an email.
  2. For CMU-MS students, you can find project descriptions here and on ECE's SPT portal.


Current Research Group

  • Lucas Castanheira, PhD
  • Isabel Suizo, PhD (Co-advised with Justine Sherry)
  • Mugdha Deokar, Research Associate
  • Yu-Ting Wang, PhD (Visiting Student from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology)
  • Jingyang Men, MS


Broadly, my group focuses on improving network performance and availability. In data centers and clouds settings, we work on designing abstractions and frameworks for managing programmable substrates and eliminating existing complexity. At the edge, we work on developing measurement techniques and models to understand, debug, and eliminate the complex interactions between protocols that result in performance and availability issues.

Software and Datasets

  • Data Center Characteristics [IMC'2010]: data set
  • LegoSDN (Fault Tolerant Controller) [SoSR'16]: source code
  • Dapper (Data Plane diagnosis of TCP) [SoSR'17]: source code
  • P4Visor [CoNEXT'18]: source code
  • Hermes [CoNext'17]: Coming soon!

Funding: Grants & Gifts

Selected Publications

Full list of publications can be found here.

  1. Configanator: A Data-driven Approach to Improving CDN Performance.
    Usama Naseer, Theophilus A. Benson
    [Proceedings of USENIX Networked Systems Designs & Implementation (NSDI), Renton, Washington, Apr 2022]
  2. Dissecting Performance of Production QUIC.
    Alexander Yu, Theophilus A. Benson
    [Proceedings of The Web Conference (WWW), Ljubljana, Slovenia, Apr 2021]
  3. Zero Downtime Release: Disruption-free Load Balancing of a Multi-Billion User Website.
    Usama Naseer, Luca Niccolini, Udip Pant, Alan Frindell, Ranjeeth Dasineni,Theophilus A. Benson
    [Proceedings of ACM Special Interest Group on Data Communication (SIGCOMM), New York, New York, Aug 2020]
  4. In-Network Compute: Considered Armed and Dangerous.
    Theophilus A. Benson
    [Proceedings of ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Operating Systems (HotOS), Bertinoro, Italy, May 2019]
  5. Efficient and Safe Network Updates with Suffix Causal Consistency.
    Sheng Liu, Theophilus A. Benson, and Michael Reiter
    [Proceedings of ACM European Conference on Computer Systems (EUROSYS), Dresden, Germany, Mar 2019]
  6. Performance Characterization of a Commercial Video Streaming Service.
    Mojgan Ghasemi, Partha Kanuparthy, Ahmed Mansy, Theophilus Benson and Jennifer Rexford
    [Proceedings of ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), Santa Monica, CA, Nov 2016]