Mehran Elyasi Receives ISIT Best Paper Award

The International Symposium on Information Theory, organized by the IEEE Information Theory Society has awarded Mehran Elyasi with the Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Best Student Paper Award for 2018. Mehran’s paper is titled, “A Cascade Code Construction for (n,k,d) Distributed Storage Systems,” published in Proceedings of the 2018 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory.

Exact-repair regenerating codes are codes used for Distributed Storage Systems for the purpose of data recovery and repair when a storage unit fails. In his paper, Mehran introduces a novel class of these codes that hit an optimum trade-off between storage bandwidth and repair bandwidth.

Mehran’s Research

The award winning paper stems from Mehran’s doctoral research which focuses on, among other issues, the problem of reliability in Distributed Storage Systems (DSS). (As the volume of digital data generated on the Internet, and the users seeking access to such data  increases rapidly, DSS are used to maintain data availability.) But the unreliability of such systems remains a key concern. While the problem can be overcome by building in redundancy in the data, it leads to storage overheads. Additionally, with failures being common in large scale storage systems, a significant volume of network traffic is diverted to repair failed storage nodes. While the ideal goal is to minimize the repair bandwidth while also maximizing the storage efficiency of the system, currently one can be optimized only at the cost of the other.     

To counter these challenges, Mehran has worked on the design of a novel coding scheme, called Determinant Coding, for Distributed Storage Systems. The construction of the scheme provides encoding/decoding algorithms for storage as well as an efficient mechanism for the repair of failed storage units. These universally structured codes can operate in all the optimum points of the storage-bandwidth trade-off.

Mehran earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics from Isfahan University of Technology, Iran, in 2014. His areas of interest include information theory and its applications in communication, distributed storage systems, and statistical machine learning. He is pursuing his doctoral degree under the guidance of Prof. Soheil Mohajer. He is the recipient of the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship awarded by the University’s Graduate School, and is also a 2018 Facebook Fellow.

The Jack Keil Wolf ISIT Best Student Paper Award is given annually to three outstanding papers that are primarily authored and presented by the student. The content of the paper and the quality of its presentation are criteria for the award, which includes a plaque for each student author and a $500 honorarium to be shared by each of them.