Grenoble INP - ENSIMAG LIG Laboratory ERODS Team
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Alain Tchana was born in 1985 in Nkongsamba, Cameroon. He studied there until 2008, where he obtained his master's degree in Networks and Multimedia Applications at the Computer Science Department of the University of Yaoundé I. After his internship at Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT, in France), he started a PhD in the same laboratory under the supervision of Pr Daniel Hagimont. During his thesis, Alain Tchana worked on the design of orchestrators for the cloud. He obtained his PhD in 2011 and joined the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Grenoble (LIG, in France) under the supervision of Pr Noel De Palma. During his post-doctorate at LIG, Alain Tchana was interested in the optimization of benchmarking systems.

In 2013, Alain Tchana was recruited as Associate Professor at Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse where he joined the SEPIA team of IRIT. He focused his research on the field of operating systems and hypervisors. In 2015, Alain Tchana started a close collaboration with Cameroonian universities and more particularly with the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Polytechnique de Yaoundé (ENSPY) in Cameroon. Since then, he has been a guest lecturer in the Computer Engineering department of ENSPY where he teaches Cloud and Virtualization. Alain Tchana has supervised about twenty students from ENSPY.

After the defense of his Habilitation to Supervise Research in 2017, Alain Tchana was recruited in 2018 at Université Côte d'Azur at the rank of Full Professor. Then in 2019, Alain Tchana was recruited at Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) de Lyon in the Laboratoire de l'Informatique pour le Parallélisme (LIP). At ENS de Lyon, Alain Tchana was in charge of a Systems research group composed of about five PhD students. He was also the head of the computer science department, co-chair of the LIP's parity committee, and member of the CNRS national committee. In September 2022, Alain Tchana was recruited at ENSIMAG - Grenoble INP in the ERODS team of the LIG laboratory, where he is co-leader of the Défi INRIA OS.

Alain Tchana's work has been the subject of more than sixty articles published in prestigious international peer-reviewed conferences and journals (e.g., EuroSys, ATC, Infocom, DSN). Alain has served as PC member of several Systems conferences such as EuroSys, NSDI, DSN, ATC, hotOS. One of Alain Tchana's outstanding achievements is his ability to transmit the love of research to his PhD students. Indeed, all of the seven students he supervised are pursuing a research activity. Five of them have permanent positions in academia.

Alain Tchana is mainly interested in the following research topics: Operating system, datacenter disaggregation, storage virtualization, virtualization of hardware features for virtualization, performance improvement, and securing applications. During his Ph.D. thesis and post-doctorate, his research was in autonomous administration, a sub-field of Middleware. He participated in developing the first orchestrators for the cloud (RoboConf, transferred to Linagora). He has several publications in Middleware, the main conference of that domain. Once permanent (in 2013), he oriented his research in Systems, particularly Virtualization and Operating Systems. He is now interested in improving application performance and saving energy. System research domain is at the junction of several research domains. He has several publications in EuroSys (System), Infocom (Networks), DSN (Security), RAID (Security), Sigmetrics (Networks, Systems, Security), ATC (System), and SuperComputing (HPC). He is currently working on several exiting projects including, xOS (end of Process and Thread reign in the OS), MiLK (micro-kernalization of Linux), rgpdOS (Law and Operating System to take into account data privacy laws at the operating system level).

Simply, Alain Tchana is a System's guy!

Contact if you want to do System (for performance, resource saving, fault tolerance, security, etc.).

Systems Domain


  • Find out my publications list on dblp

Current Ph.D. Students

  • Direction of Dufy Teguia's thesis
    Subject: Techniques avancées pour la spécialisation de fonctions réseaux conteneurisées.
    Period: Mar. 2023 - Mar. 2026
    Funding: CIFRE (Orange Labs)
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
    Kahina Lazri 50% (co-sueprvisor)

  • Direction of Assane Fall's thesis
    Subject: Hoisting Linux Memory manager to userspace.
    Period: Oct. 2022 - Oct. 2025
    Funding: Defi INRIA
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
    JP Lozi 50% (co-supervisor)

  • Direction of Theophile Dubuc's thesis
    Subject: Efficient storage virtualization.
    Period: Nov. 2021 - Nov. 2024
    Funding: CIFRE (with Outscale)
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
    Pierre Olivier 50% (co-director)

  • Direction of Kevin Nguetchouang's thesis
    Subject: Efficient storage virtualization.
    Period: Dec. 2020 - Dec. 2023
    Funding: Labex MiLyon
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
    Pierre Olivier 50% (co-director)

  • Direction of Yves Kone's thesis
    Subject: IPC improvement in bare metal and virtualized environments.
    Period: Dec. 2020 - Dec. 2024
    Funding: ANR PicNic
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
    Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

  • Direction of Peterson Yuhala's thesis
    Subject: Enhancing Security and Performance in Trusted Execution Environments.
    Period: Dec. 2019 - Feb. 2024
    Funding: NA
    Supervision: Alain Tchana 33% (co-director)
    Daniel Hagimont 33% (co-director) and Valerio Schiavoni 33% (co-director)

  • Former Ph.D. Students

    • Direction of Josiane Kouam's thesis
      Subject: Simbox fraud mitigation.
      Period: Nov. 2019 - May 2023
      Funding: INRIA CORDI-S
      Currently: Post-Doc Inria (Paris)
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Aline Carneiro 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Stella Bitchebe's thesis
      Subject: Out-of-Hypervisor (OoH): When Nested Virtualization Becomes Practical.
      Period: Mar. 2019 - Feb. 2023
      Funding: ANR Scalevisor
      Currently: Post-Doc at McGuill (Canada)
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 100%

    • Direction of Lavoisier Wapet's thesis
      Subject: Performance and resource management in nested virtualization systems.
      Period: Fev. 2017 - Mai 2020
      Funding: MESR
      Currently: Post-Doc LIRIS (Lyon)
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Djob Mvondo's thesis
      Subject: Privileged VM management in virtualized systems.
      Period: Feb. 2018 - Dec. 2020
      Funding: FEDER
      Distinction: Younger african Ph.D. Doctor (22 years old), and GDR RSD and ASF best thesis award
      Currently: Associate Professor University of Rennes (France)
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Noel De Palma 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Bao Bui's thesis
      Subject: NUMA management in virtualized systems.
      Period: Oct. 2017 - Oct. 2020
      Funding: Scholarship 911 Vietnam
      Currently: Lecturer at Can Tho University
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Mathieu Bacou's thesis
      Subject: Performance and resource management in nested virtualization systems.
      Period: Feb. 2017 - May 2020
      Funding: CIFRE Atos
      Currently: Maître de Conférences
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Grégoire Todeschi's thesis
      Subject: Memory overcommitment in virtualized systems.
      Period: Oct. 2016 - June 2020
      Funding: MESR
      Currently: Industry
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Vlad Nitu's thesis
      Subject: Memory management in virtualized systems.
      Period: Oct. 2015 - Oct. 2018
      Funding: MESR
      Distinction: GDR RSD and ASF best thesis award (2nd place)
      Currently: CR CNRS
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    • Direction of Boris Teabe's thesis
      Subject: Performance optimization in virtualized systems.
      Period: Oct. 2014 - Oct. 2017
      Funding: INRIA CORDI-S
      Distinction: GDR RSD and ASF best thesis award (1rst place) et Leopold Escande award
      Currently: Maître de Conférences
      Supervision: Alain Tchana 50% (co-director)
      Daniel Hagimont 50% (co-director)

    Projects (to be updated)

    Since 2023

    MiLK: My research project during the next 10 years

    The last decade has seen the rapid digitalization of our societies (health, politics, transport, and so on), resulting in the appearance of a large diversity of applications and hardware that the operating system (OS) must consider. In addition, new critical concerns have emerged such as data privacy and carbon emission. Consequently, the OS (Linux, FreeBSD, macOS, and Windows), which is at the heart of the machine, includes general-purpose sub-optimal policies (memory management, process scheduling). Their customization is arduous, not within reach of system integrators, and requires machine reboot (thus causing unavailability). The fundamental problem of popular OSes is their monolithic nature, which enforces packaging all OS services in a single binary that runs in the privileged mode of the CPU (kernel space), where customization is intricate.
    MiLK resurrects microkernels, which advocates uncoupling OS services and running all of them in the unprivileged mode of the CPU (userspace), where quick customization is conceivable. Given an existing monolithic OS, MiLK mutates it into another one (called fluid OS) whose services can be specialized by integrators to meet a specific setup for achieving optimal performance, energy consumption, and privacy. MiLK should answer four questions:
    Q1: Designing. How to redesign a monolithic OS without sacrificing maintainability? Based on Linux and instrumentation, we will identify and instrument all OS functions that will allow service explode and outsourcing into userspace.
    Q2: Abstracting. Which abstraction suits userspace OS services as Process and Thread are respectively strongly and weakly isolated. We will invent the appropriate first-class concepts using hardware and software co-design.
    Q3: Characterizing. What should be the language support provided to integrators? We will characterize existing high-level languages and we will create Domain Specific Languages.
    Q4: Verifying. How to keep the resulting OS as safe as the original one? We will verify all our OS extensions, userspace libraries, and communication protocols using verification tools and techniques.
    To show the effectiveness of MiLK, I will study several use cases, targeting energy consumption, performance, and privacy goals. Concerning the latter for instance, I will design a GDPR compliant file system services so that all applications could take benefit from it. By considering GDPR at the OS-level, my approach prevents application developpers and companies to deal with the law. I will conduct this pluridisciplinary work in collaboration with law researchers. We have published on arXiv a vision paper.

    2020 - 2024

    PicNic (ANR)

    Data transfering among datacenters.

    2019 - 2020

    SprinkledOS (Attractivity ENS Lyon)

    Distributed virtual machines.

    2019 - 2020

    ScalevisorFT (Impulsion labex MiLyon)

    Fault tolerance in disaggregated environments.

    2019 - 2022

    Scalevisor (ANR)

    Distributed hypervisors.

    2019 - 2021

    IMAD (Toulouse Tech Transfer)

    Malicious mobile App detection.

    2017 - 2019

    BlablaMem (Région Occitanie)

    Memory distribution within a rack.

    2016 - 2017

    KelCloud (Toulouse Tech Transfer)

    How to choose your cloud.

    2015 - 2017

    Zombie (Toulouse Tech Transfer)

    Memory disaggregation.

    Conference Organization (to be updated)

    Responsibilities (to be updated)

    • I have participated as partner/leader to 8 national projects (for a total amount of 1.204M) since I have been permanent. Departmental grants have funded most of my Ph.D. students, given the excellent candidates I have often presented.

    • Since 2022, I am co-responsible for international relations at LIG.

    • Since 2022, I am member of the keynote speaker organizer group at LIG.

    • Jury member of the EuroSys 2022 Roger Needham PhD Award and the Dennis M. Ritchie Thesis Award 2022.

    • PC member at NSDI 2024, hotOS 2023, EuroSys 2023, ATC 2023 and 2022, DSN 2022, and Reviewer at ACM TOCS 2021 and 2022.

    • In 2022, I co-organized the Lyon Unikraft Hackathon.

    • 2021-2022, Director of the ENS Lyon computer science department.

    • Sponsor Chair at EuroSys 2021.

    • Since 2021, member of Comité national du CNSR (CNRS research evaluation, junior and senior researcher hiring, etc.).

    • Since 2021, member of Comité national du CNSR (CNRS research evaluation, junior and senior researcher hiring, etc.).

    • In 2021, member of Comité de perfectionnement du master d'informatique d'Institut Polytechnique de Paris.

    • 2020-2022, I was co-head of Systèmes, Réseaux et Télécommunication research topic in FIL (Fédération Informatique Lyonnaise). I organized a lot of talks, open to the entire french System community. I invited several speakers, including David D. Patterson, Turing Awards 2017.

    • 2020-2021, Deputy Director of the ENS Lyon computer science department.

    • Since 2021, Head of the associated team Inria Machine Learning, Network, System and Security (MLNS2) with Polytechnique Yaoundé (Cameroon).

    • In 2020, I co-organized Les journées Cloud et Virtualization in Lyon.

    • Since 2020, I am co-head of Cloud and Virtualization research topic in GDR RSD.

    • Since 2020, member of the Africa AI board of United Nations Organization.

    • Since 2020, Elected member of the ASF's Bureau (chapter FRANCE of the ACM Sigops).

    • Since 2020, Co-leader of the Systems, Networks and Telecommunications theme of the FIL (Fédération Informatique Lyonnaise).

    • Since 2020, Co-founder and moderator of the French Computer Science Research forum (+150 researchers).

    • Since 2020, Member of the ASDS (African Society in Digital Sciences) Bureau.

    • Since 2020, Member of the United Nation Roundtable 3C on AI.

    • In 2019, I co-organized SIF Ph.D. student day in Nice.

    • Since 2019, Member of the GDR RSD steering committee: I'm co-leading the Cloud and Virtualization theme.

    • Since 2019, Co-responsible of the LIP's Gender Equality Committee.

    • Since 2019, Member of the ComPas steering committee.

    • Since 2018, Member appointed to the IRIT Laboratory Council.

    Medias, Awards, and Distinctions

    • My Ph.D. student Stella Bitchebe, who obtained the NEC Student fellowship grants 2021 was interviewed by Cameroon National Television on the occasion of the celebration of the International Women's Rights Day (8 March 2021). Listen to her interview here.

    • My former Ph.D. student Djob Mvondo, who defended at the age of 22 in December 2020, was cited as an example for the youth by the president of the republic of Cameroon. Read more about in cameroon-info.

    • Private deployment of a distance learning platform during covid for African institutions and universities. Find out more here (click on Cameroon): used by +100 institutions.

    • Development of a website and mobile application to track the progress of covid in Cameroon. Find out more on youtube and linkedin.

    • In 2008, when I was a master's student, a friend and I pulled off a technological feat to solve the problem of changing the telephone numbering system in Cameroon. Find out more explanation on it here.

    Where to find me

    Batiment IMAG
    150 Place du torrent
    38401 St Martin d'Hères

    Email Me At