Francis Y. Yan

Senior Researcher
Microsoft Research Redmond

(starting spring 2025)
Assistant Professor of Computer Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

99/2711, 14820 NE 36th St
Redmond, WA 98052
About me

I am a researcher at Microsoft Research Redmond. In the spring of 2025, I will be joining the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) as an Assistant Professor of Computer Science, with an affiliate appointment in Electrical & Computer Engineering. My research primarily focuses on enhancing networked systems with practical ML algorithms.

I am the creator of Puffer, a live TV service that has attracted over 360,000 real users (as of July 2024), as well as a video research platform that has assisted researchers in publishing top-tier and award-winning papers.

Prior to Microsoft Research, I received my Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University, where I was advised by Keith Winstein and Philip Levis. Before that, I did my undergraduate studies at Tsinghua University (Yao Class) and MIT. I am a recipient of an IRTF Applied Networking Research Prize, a USENIX NSDI Community Award, a USENIX NSDI Outstanding Paper Award, a USENIX ATC Best Paper Award, and an APNet Best Paper Award.

Prospective students

I will be recruiting Ph.D. students for Fall 2025 to establish my new group at UIUC! If you are interested in my research on practical ML for networked systems (details below), please apply to UIUC's CS Ph.D. program and mention my name in your application. Feel free to send me your resume, but I may not be able to respond to every email.

News
May 2024
Co-chairing SIGCOMM '24 Artifact Evaluation.
Apr 2024
Very proud that Autothrottle received the NSDI '24 Outstanding Paper Award (formerly the Best Paper Award)! Read my post for details.
Mar 2024
Diffy was accepted at PLDI '24!
Nov 2023
Serving on the program committee of NSDI '25.
Oct 2023
Serving on the program committee of SIGCOMM '24.
Oct 2023
We are organizing the 2nd Bandwidth Estimation Challenge at ACM MMSys '24! Submission deadline: Jan 5, 2024.
Sep 2023
My former intern Zhiying Xu presented our work Teal at SIGCOMM '23! Read my post for details.
Jul 2023
Co-chaired the ACM/IRTF Applied Networking Research Workshop (ANRW) '23. Find video recordings and links to papers in my post.
Jul 2023
Autothrottle was accepted at NSDI '24!
May 2023
Teal and Slingshot were accepted at SIGCOMM '23!
Research

My research takes a holistic approach to enabling practical ML for networked systems: (1) developing open research platforms to lay the foundation for applying ML, (2) devising practically deployable ML algorithms to enhance networked systems, and (3) validating ML's performance through extensive real-world evidence. Following this methodology, my work has engaged hundreds of thousands of real users and found wide use in academia.

Selected projects I have recently worked on include: