Sara McAllister

GHC 6002 · 5000 Forbes Ave · Pittsburgh, PA 15232 · sjmcalli [at] cs [dot] cmu [dot] com · CV

I am a second year PhD student in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University, supported by an NDSEG fellowship. I'm co-advised by Greg Ganger and Nathan Beckmann and part of CORGi @ CMU and the Parallel Data Lab.

Generally, I am interested in computer systems, particularly distributed, caching, and storage systems. Currently, I am researching how to cost-effectively cache billions of tiny objects on flash. I will be interning at MSR this summer, working on disaggregated memory.

I co-created a course (15-996 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Computer Science and Society) that is uniquely tailored to introduce and discuss DEI with new PhD students. We are open-sourcing materials, so please reach out if you're interested in our experience creating a mandatory PhD course around DEI issues.

I received my undergraduate degree at Harvey Mudd College in computer science. During my undergrad, I worked with Don Porter at UNC Chapel Hill and the BetrFS group.


Kangaroo: Caching Billions of Tiny Objects on Flash

Sara McAllister, Benjamin Berg, Julian Tutuncu-Macias, Juncheng Yang, Sathya Gunasekar, Jimmy Lu, Nathan Beckmann, Gregory R. Ganger

Under Submission

The CacheLib Caching Engine: Design and Experiences at Scale

Benjamin Berg, Daniel S. Berger, Sara McAllister, Isaac Grosof, Sathya Gunasekar, Jimmy Lu, Michael Uhlar, Jim Carrig, Nathan Beckmann, Mor Harchol-Balter, Gregory R. Ganger

OSDI 2020

Small Refinements to the DAM Can Have Big Consequences for Data-Structure Design

Michael A Bender, Alex Conway, Martín Farach-Colton, William Jannen, Yizheng Jiao, Rob Johnson, Eric Knorr, Sara McAllister, Nirjhar Mukherjee, Prashant Pandey, Donald E Porter, Jun Yuan, Yang Zhan

SPAA 2019


Carnegie Mellon University

PhD Student
Computer Science - Systems
August 2019 - Present

Harvey Mudd College

Bachelor of Science
Computer Science

Graduated with High Distinction, Departmental Honors in Computer Science

August 2015 - May 2019


Carnegie Mellon University

Harvey Mudd College

  • ▪ CS131 Programming Languages (Spring 2019) - Grader and Tutor
  • ▪ CS105 Introduction to Computer Systems (Spring 2018, Fall 2019) - Grader and Tutor
  • ▪ CS70 Data Structures and Program Development (Spring 2018) - Grader and Tutor
  • ▪ CS70 Data Structures and Program Development (Fall 2017) - Grader and Tutor
  • ▪ CS60 Principles of Computer Science (Spring 2017) - Grader and Tutor
  • ▪ CS5Gr Introduction to Computer Science and Biology (Fall 2016) - Grader and Tutor

Industry Experience

Research Intern

Microsoft Research

Researching disaggregated memory kernel optimizations

May 2021 - August 2021

Software Engineering Intern


MySQL user and privilege management system

May 2019 - August 2019

Harvey Mudd Clinic

Pure Storage

Highly-available NFS Server on Pure Storage Flash Array

September 2018 - May 2019

Sofware Engineer Intern


Built tool to automate scheduling of developer server maintenance accounting for developer preferences

May 2017 - August 2017


  • NDSEG Fellowship 2021
  • NSF GRFP 2021 (declined)
  • Class of '94 Award - Harvey Mudd College 2019
  • Clinic Team Award - Harvey Mudd College 2019
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Honorable Mention - Computing Research Association 2019