Peter Braam

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Peter Braam
Peter J. Braam
Alma mater
Known forLustre File System, Intermezzo File System, Coda File System
Scientific career
FieldsMathematics, Computer science
ThesisMagnetic Monopoles and Hyperbolic Three-manifolds (1987)
Doctoral advisorMichael Atiyah

Peter J. Braam is a Dutch-American computer scientist, mathematician and entrepreneur focused on large-scale computing. As an academic, Braam held senior faculty positions at the University of Utah, Oxford, Carnegie Mellon, and visiting or adjunct positions at the University of British Columbia, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the University of Cambridge.

Transitioning into the computing industry, Braam created the Lustre parallel file system, which has become a key product for large-scale HPC. He founded or co-founded 6 startups and held executive roles at public companies including Turbolinux, Sun Microsystems, and Xyratex. From 2013, he has contributed to the computing architecture for the SKA telescope and has researched solutions for data-intensive computing.

Early life and education[edit]

Braam was born in Utrecht, Netherlands. His undergraduate and postgraduate studies took place at Utrecht University and the University of Oxford. He was a doctoral student of Sir Michael Atiyah at Oxford, and obtained a DPhil (PhD) in 1987 for a thesis entitled Magnetic Monopoles and Hyperbolic Three-manifolds.[1]

Career and research[edit]

1980–1997 education, mathematics[edit]

In 1987 Braam became a Junior Research Fellow at Merton College, Oxford, and a C&C Huygens Fellow of the Netherlands Science Foundation.[2] He became a tenured associate professor at University of Utah, then a university lecturer and tutorial fellow at St Catherine's College, Oxford University (1990–1997).[3]

Braam worked under the supervision of Michael Atiyah and many other mathematicians including Hans Duistermaat, Simon Donaldson, and Graeme Segal and he published papers on differential topology, gauge theories, conformal field theories, algebraic geometry and partial differential equations.[4][5]

Braam's students included; Jacob Kalkman, Jorge Devoto, Ian McAllister, Daniel Elton, Carlos Valero, Matthew Selby and Sharad Agnihorti.[4]

Working directly with Watts Humphrey, he took extensive formal and accredited training at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in managing software engineering, architecture, and evaluation.

1997–2012 computing startups and acquisitions[edit]

Braam started teaching for the Computing Laboratory in Oxford University (1994–1996), followed by taking up a Senior Systems Scientist Faculty position at Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science from 1997 to 2005, where he took over leadership of the Coda project.[6][7] During this time he created the InterMezzo file system[8] and laid the foundation for Lustre.[9]

In 1999, Braam introduced Lustre, an open-source parallel distributed file system mainly used for supercomputing and is offered as a service in Amazon Web Services.[10] Since June 2005, it has consistently been used by at least half of the top ten, and more than 60 of the top 100 fastest supercomputers in the world.,[11] including the world's No. 2 and No. 3 ranked TOP500 supercomputers in 2014.[12]

Braam founded or co-founded 6 startup companies of which 4 had their assets acquired.[13][14] He has served in senior executive positions at Turbolinux, Sun Microsystems,[15] and Xyratex.[16] Lustre remains the best known legacy having become the de facto file system for HPC, allowing Braam to work with hundreds of the world's largest research computing facilities, and dozens of the largest IT companies who resold Lustre.[17][18] During this period, he contributed to and designed several other storage products of which several reached the market. This includes key features of Linux's Ext4 file system, the InterMezzo technology which was licensed by two startups using it as their base technology, an MLS secure storage system for the US Department of Defense (DOD) and new approaches to RAID.[19] He introduced architectures targeting exa-scale storage architectures such as Colibri[20] which Xyratex acquired and became Seagate's Mero[21] product. He founded and led the Exascale IO Workgroup (EIOW)[22][23][24] which influenced other projects. He was one of the founding advisors creating the EC Horizon 2020 Exascale program in 2012.[25]

2013–present scientific and computing consultant[edit]

Since 2013, Braam has worked as a scientific consultant with Cambridge University on the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope project,[26] studying programming language frameworks and computer architecture to address performance problems and created industrial relations.[27] He introduced the SEI software processes into the SKA project.[28] As a consultant he advised partners in the European Processor Initiative. From 2019, Braam has been a visiting professor of physics at Oxford University.[29]

Philanthropic activities[edit]

Braam has been involved with different philanthropic activities. He has endowed the Peter J Braam Junior Research Fellowship and Graduate Scholarship in Human Well Being at Merton College, Oxford, and made a Bequest for a larger effort in this area.[2] These projects have supported the creation of a series of Early Career Fellowships at Merton, as well as at other colleges and departments at the University. [30][31]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • 1999 LinuxWorld, Editors Choice Award for Coda File System (best data management software)
  • 1999 Best Paper, Systems, O'Reilly Open Source Convention, (InterMezzo)[32]
  • 1994–1995 Special Lectureship, University of Oxford
  • 1993 Royal Society Exchange Fellowship to visit UBC, Canada
  • 1986 Wolfson College, Oxford, Graduate Scholarship
  • 1985 British Council and Foreign Office graduate scholarship
  • 1984 Outstanding Research Award, University of Utrecht

Selected publications[edit]

  • Braam, P. J.; Donaldson, S. K. (1995). "Floer's work on instanton homology, knots and surgery". The Floer Memorial Volume. Birkhäuser Basel: 195–256. doi:10.1007/978-3-0348-9217-9_10. ISBN 978-3-0348-9948-2.
  • Braam, P.J.; Duistermaat, J.J. (December 1993). "Normal forms of real symmetric systems with multiplicity". Indagationes Mathematicae. 4 (4): 407–421. doi:10.1016/0019-3577(93)90011-M.
  • Braam, Peter J.; Maciocia, Antony; Todorov, Andrey (December 1992). "Instanton moduli as a novel map from tori to K3-surfaces". Inventiones Mathematicae. 108 (1): 419–451. Bibcode:1992InMat.108..419B. doi:10.1007/BF02100613. S2CID 17896374.


  1. ^ Braam, Peter J. (1987). "Magnetic Monopoles and Hyperbolic Three-manifolds". University of Oxford. Retrieved March 19, 2019. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Braam Bequest to enable the use of research to improve countless lives". February 21, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  3. ^ "Peter Braam Career".
  4. ^ a b "Peter Braam – The Mathematics Genealogy Project". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Hitchin, Nigel J. "Mathematics and culture: Geometry in Oxford 1960–1990". Celebratio Mathematica. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "The Coda Distributed File System". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Using the InterMezzo Distributed Filesystem – Getting Connected in a Disconnected World". LinuxPlanet. August 12, 2002. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  8. ^ "Peter Braam: The Intermezzo FileSystem". Carnegie Mellon University. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  9. ^ Braam, Peter (2005). "The Lustre Storage Architecture". arXiv:1903.01955 [cs.OS].
  10. ^ Feldman, Michael (June 14, 2017). "Lustre Architect Peter Braam Talks About His Latest Venture | TOP500 Supercomputer Sites". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  11. ^ Rosenberg, Dave (July 28, 2010). "Open-source Lustre gets supercomputing nod". CNET. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  12. ^ Brian Behlendorf. "ZFS on Linux for Lustre" (PDF). Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 31, 2014.
  13. ^ "Cray Moves to Acquire the Seagate ClusterStor Line". July 28, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  14. ^ Smolaks, Max (June 27, 2018). "DDN is buying Intel's Lustre file system business". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  15. ^ "Sun To Buy Lustre File System For Solaris, Linux". InformationWeek. August 12, 2007. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  16. ^ Hemsoth, Nicole (February 21, 2013). "Xyratex Captures Oracle's Lustre". Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  17. ^ "Sun Microsystems Expands High Performance Computing Portfolio with Definitive Agreement to Acquire Assets of Cluster File Systems, Including the Lustre File System". Sun Microsystems. September 12, 2007. Archived from the original on October 2, 2007. Retrieved September 23, 2013.
  18. ^ Brueckner, Rich (November 9, 2010). "Bojanic & Braam Getting Lustre Band Back Together at Xyratex". insideHPC. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  19. ^ Fragalla, John (2014). "Improving Lustre® OST Performance with ClusterStor GridRAID" (PDF).
  20. ^ Braam, Peter (March 3, 2015). "Exascale File Systems" (PDF).
  21. ^ Danilov, Nikita (Fall 2016). "Mero: Co-Designing an Object Store for Extreme Scale". PDSW.
  22. ^ McLelland, Meghan (2013). "EIOW: Exa-scale I/O workgroup" (PDF).
  23. ^ Braam, Peter (2012). "The Exa-scale I/O initiative – EIOW, Xyratex white paper" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Making the case for reforming the I/O software stack of extreme-scale systems". ResearchGate. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  25. ^ "High-Performance Computing (HPC)". Horizon 2020 - European Commission. April 2, 2014. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Moyake, Nox. "Multidisciplinary innovator Peter Braam to guest lecture at CHPC". CHPC. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  27. ^ Braam, Peter J (April 9, 2018). "Performance Engineering for the SKA Telescope". ICPE'18 : proceedings of the 2018 ACM/SPEC International Conference on Performance Engineering. Berlin, Germany. ISBN 978-1-4503-5095-2.
  28. ^ "The IADS Colloquium – 'Data Processing for the SKA Telescope' with multidisciplinary innovator Dr Peter Braam". Institute of Applied Data Science. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  29. ^ Brueckner, Rich (February 4, 2019). "Video: TensorFlow for HPC?". insideHPC.
  30. ^ "Establishing a visionary programme to improve human wellbeing". Oxford Thinking. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  31. ^ "Bequest to enable major new programme of research focusing on human wellbeing – Oxford Thinking – University of Oxford". April 20, 2018. Retrieved March 19, 2019.
  32. ^ Brown, Vicki (September 1, 1999). "A report from the Open Source Convention". Retrieved 16 March 2019.