blue is a Systems Research Group
We design, build, and evaluate novel computer systems. We are currently working on smartphones, today's most pervasive mobile technology. Our research aims to make smartphones more useful, safer, and more sustainable. But at blue we put people first. Our primary mission is to train computer scientists and our primary product is people. We try to align everything else in service of that goal, which results in putting people before projects before papers.
Putting people first reflects the fact that as an academic research group blue's primary purpose is to train future researchers and developers. Lab members are in school and are here to learn. When conducting research, our objective is to allow students the chance to come up with new ideas, develop them into prototype systems, evaluate them objectively, and then communicate their results effectively to the broader scientific community. Along the way they are developing analytical skills and leadership abilities they benefiting the majority of their career in technology that occurs after they leave blue.
Putting people before projects means allowing blue group members to choose and lead projects that excite them and letting projects proceed at a pace that benefits members' personal development. We utilize our freedom as an academic research lab to identify novel directions that we are excited about pursuing without the constraints of a company or industrial research lab. But along the way we are careful not to miss opportunities to allow blue group members to learn and grow as they develop their projects—even if this means development doesn't always happen as fast as possible.
Putting projects before papers allows us to work on projects that interest us—not just ones that might quickly lead to a publication—and to publish when ready. While acceptance rates at many systems conferences are low enough to be discouraging, we believe that publishing should be a fundamentally happy undertaking. It's our chance to share what we've found with the world outside our group, and to celebrate the hard work and growth of blue members. We also don't work on projects because we need to publish papers—we work on projects because we love building things and we're curious about what will happen when we try something new.
Together In the Lab
blue is fortunate to have a single lab large enough to house all current group members—currently Davis Hall Room 301B, also know as the PhoneLab. Inspired by the organization of groups like the Berkeley AMP Lab, as well as the organization of typical startups and technology companies, all group members—faculty, administrators, graduate students and undergraduates—work side-by-side in our lab. This arrangement allows for spontaneous real-time collaboration and problem solving while also building a sense of camaraderie. Group members are asked to be present in the lab during certain hours to facilitate interaction. New blue members find it easy to get started since there are always more experienced developers nearby, and many discussions that take place in the lab have benefited from being overhead by group members that were not directly engaged in the project. It also just ends up being a lot of fun!