Lecture abstract: A computer networking researcher traveling forward in time from 1985 to the present would be shocked by many things – not the least of which is the fact that people are still doing computer networking research over 30 years later. While some of the terminology would sound familiar, the networks themselves and what we use them for would be totally unrecognizable – yet quite impressive. For those of us who could not afford a time machine, we have observed a more gradual evolution interspersed with the occasional shocking development. This will be the highly personal story of my journey through these decades of change in the computer networking field. I will attempt to answer these very deep questions: What were the biggest surprises along the way? What came first: the Internet or content services? Were there any discernible evolutionary patterns? Is there anything left to do in networking? Are we having fun yet?
Biography: Mostafa Ammar is a Regents' Professor with the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Ammar received the S.B. and S.M. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Waterloo. To date, 36 PhD students have completed their degrees under his supervision; many have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and industry. He is a Fellow of the IEEE and the ACM and has been recognized through numerous technical and service awards. Mostafa is a maverick and a visionary researcher. His work on teletext distribution, done while he was working on his PhD at Waterloo, presaged and set the technical foundation for the later revolution in group (also known as multicast) communication on the Internet. In the 1990’s, he pioneered techniques such as Destination Set Group and probabilistic multicast that provide a scalable means for multimedia servers to accommodate a large and heterogeneous set of clients, and contributed significantly to reliable multicast protocols (in particular for video transmission). In the 2000’s, Mostafa turned his research focus to delay tolerant networking (DTN). Mostafa and his team developed a novel and elegant packet ferrying approach (abandoning probabilistic approaches that were in vogue at the time) to deliver content between disconnected islands that was efficient in terms of the amount of data delivered and the energy consumed in doing so. Like his multicast work, Mostafa’s work on message ferrying became the gold standard for DTN research. One indication of its tremendous impact on the community mindshare is that this work has been cited more than 1500 times. Mostafa takes his work that critical step further by putting his theory into practice - prototyping and further developing the ideas with his students thereby his theoretical work has become both insightful and with real-world impact.
Food and beverages will be provided at the lecture.