Some Challenges Facing Network Practitioners

Monday, August 6, 2001 - 9:30am - 10:20am
Keller 3-180
Donald Towsley (University of Massachusetts)
The Internet continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. Consisting of 10,000 networks made up of several hundred thousand routers, it supports a rich variety of applications. These include the Web with text, images, audio and video, network telephony, etc.. The underlying technologies also continue to expand, ranging from low bandwidth, lossy wireless links to multi-gigabit per second optical links; from Web server farms, to overlay networks (e.g., Akamai), to peer-to-peer networks (e.g., Napster) . When these pieces are put together, we confront a large, heterogenous, complex system whose behavior defies simple explanation. This talk will present some important issues and challenges that have not been addressed yet in a satisfactory manner. The purpose of this being to stimulate the development of new mathematical theories and frameworks, and the application of existing mathematical ideas to help networkers in mastering these issues. These issues and challenges include:

how to do measurements and how to use measurements to draw inferences regarding network workloads and behavior.

how to model and control the behavior of large, heterogeneous networks

how to design wireless networks

how to model and design overlay and peer-to-peer networks.

These are not intended to be exhaustive but representative of current interests and trends in networks with examples taken from the speaker's work.