Zahaib Akhtar

I’m a Senior Scientist at Amazon Prime Video where I’m part of the Playback Intelligence Team. My research interests are in Internet Video, Content Delivery and Measurements. I look to apply data driven and applied ML techniques to solve problems in these areas. I received my PhD from USC where I was advised by Ramesh Govindan.

I’m also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Computer Science Department at NCSU where I contribute to work on emerging Multimedia applications.







SODA, an ABR algorithm backed by theoretic performance guarantees was accepted for SIGCOMM 2024. 

My team at Prime Video will welcome four PhD student interns for summer 2024.

I'll be serving on the EMS Workshop TPC, collocated with SIGCOMM 2024.

Gave an invited talk at UC Santa Cruz on topics in Internet Video Research, I was hosted by Prof. Katia Obraczka at i-NRG lab.

Gave a talk at Prime Video's Career Week on emerging ML/AI themes in video streaming.

Won Customer Obsession Award from Prime Video Experience Tech on development of a novel ABR algorithm for Livestreaming.

Selected Publications


CoNEXT 2022 

CoNEXT 2019 

IMC 2018 


ICASSP 2016 

Elsevier Comp. Nets 2016
Tianyu Chen, Yiheng Lin, Nicolas Christianson, Zahaib Akhtar, Sharath Dharmaji, Mohammad Hajiesmaili, Adam Wierman, Ramesh Sitaraman. SODA: An Adaptive Bitrate Controller for Consistent High-Quality Video Streaming.

Talha Waheed, Zahaib Akhtar, Ihsan Ayyub Qazi, Zafar Ayyub Qazi. Coal not Diamonds: How Memory Pressure Falters Mobile Video QoE.

Zahaib Akhtar, Yaguang Li, Ramesh Govindan, Emir Halepovic, Shuai Hao, Yan Liu, Subhabrata Sen. AViC: A Cache for Adaptive Bitrate Video.

Zahaib Akhtar, Yun Seong Nam, Jessica Chen, Ramesh Govindan, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Sanjay Rao, Jibin Zhan, Hui Zhang. Understanding Video Management Planes.

Zahaib Akhtar, Yun Seong Nam, Ramesh Govindan, Sanjay Rao, Jessica Chen, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Bruno Ribeiro, Jibin Zhan, Hui Zhang. Oboe: Auto-tuning Video ABR Algorithms to Network Conditions.  

Xing Xu, Zahaib Akhtar, Wyatt Lloyd, Antonio Ortega, Ramesh Govindan. Context adaptive thresholding and entropy coding for very low complexity JPEG transcoding.

Zahaib Akhtar, Alefiya Hussain, Ethan Katz-Bassett, Ramesh Govindan. DBit: Assessing statistically significant differences in CDN performance.
For full list, see Google Scholar.

Academic Service

Conference TPCs

Workshop/Poster/Other TPCs

  • NSDI 2025
  • CoNEXT 2024
  • The Web Conf 2024 (Systems and Infrastructure Track)
  • CoNEXT 2022
  • EMS 2024
  • ICSE 2024 (external reviewer)
  • SIGCOMM 2020 Poster

Journal Reviewer

  • IEEE Transactions on Networking
  • IEEE Transactions on Multimedia
  • IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management