Senior Staff Researcher

Palo Alto, CA, US

I work on algorithms and data structures for storage.


Rob Johnson is a Senior Staff Researcher in the VMWare Research group. He does theoretical work with an impact on the real world. He is developing VeriBetrFS, a verified high-performance file system based on his earlier work on BetrFS, a file system that uses recent advances in data structures to improve performance on many operations by over an order of magnitude. He created SplinterDB, a high-performance key-value store. He invented the quotient filter, a high-performance alternative to the Bloom filter for Big Data applications. He created Squeakr, deBGR, and Mantis, a collection of tools for performing analyses on huge genomic data sets. He founded cache-adaptive analysis, a theoretical framework for designing and analyzing algorithms that dynamically share memory with other processes. He broke the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) crypto-system used in almost all DVD players and TVs. He wrote CQual, a static analysis tool that has found dozens of bugs in the Linux kernel and has been used to audit the entire Debian Linux distribution for format-string bugs.

Before joining VMWare, he was a Research Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University. He completed his PhD at UC Berkeley in 2006.