File System Name Spaces

The hierarchical filesystem namespace originated in the 1950s and was modeled after filing cabinets. While it has served us adequately for decades, we explore alternate namespace paradigms to determine if there are alternatives that can enhance the ability to find and present information to users.


Traditional file systems use an hierarchically structured name space tied to the specific storage, despite the explosive growth in both the size and variety of our storage locations. This makes it difficult to know where to look for things and how this disparate content is related. We strive to explore potential alternatives by identifying the limitations of existing systems, as well as shortcomings in proposed alternatives. Our hope is that this will lead to potential new ways to address those limitations and enhance our understanding of file system data organization.

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Systopia lab is supported by a number of government and industrial sources, including Cisco Systems, the Communications Security Establishment Canada, Intel Research, the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Network Appliance, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).