I’m an American emigrant geek of several trades living in Wallisellen, Switzerland, currently working as a curmudgeonly pseudoacademic at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, Zürich, with a focus on Internet architecture, Internet measurement, and the evolution of Internet protocols.
I’m a member of both the Networked Systems and Network Security groups at ETH Zürich, measurement lead for the Horizon 2020 Measurement and Architecture for a Middleboxed Internet project, co-chair of the Internet Engineering Task Force IP Performance Metrics working group, and a member of the Internet Architecture Board.
BSc in Computer Science, 2000
Georgia Institute of Technology
Internet architecture and Internet-centered research being a global enterprise, I spend between four and seven weeks a year on the road, depending on which year, your definition of road and your definition of week, and a fair amount of time in teleconferences in various timezones in the time in between. One of the fixtures in my calendar is the thrice-annual meeting of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), taking place right now in Chicago. I’ve only missed three such meetings in the past dozen years, and each time I do I attempt to take part via Internet as best I can. Here are my reflections about well it’s working this time around, how it’s improved, and how it could improve further. For in a world where those who steadfastly believe in borders and walls seem to be gaining the upper hand, it seems prudent to prepare to do the work of Internet architecture, engineering, and standardization without the benefit of free movement of the people doing it.
Wasting time at Christmas by burning the site to the ground and starting over seems to be a tradition around here…
Wow, that year went quickly, on which more later.
I’d wanted to try my hand at brewing for a while, but was put off it by the (accurate) fear than ninety percent of the work was washing bottles and cleaning pots. Then, last winter, as a newly-minted father of a baby with an age measured in weeks, life consisted mainly of sterilizing bottles and not sleeping. I made an offhand comment to the effect that if I was going to spend so much time boiling glass I might as well make beer. Ariane gave me a starter kit, and a year later I’m about seventy liters in and think I have a reasonable clue what I’m doing.
I’m off to New York in a couple of weeks to present a paper at PAM (which I mentioned here, though sadly the flashy automated demo I was hoping to build was a bit optimistic). The question: “is it safe to turn on ECN on client machines by default, completing the end to end deployment of a simple fifteen year old protocol to give us a better way to signal network congestion than simply dropping packets on the floor?” The answer is: “define safe.” Our key findings:
In German, there’s a word for an organization which takes its mission very seriously but is adorably incompetent at it: “Kaninchenzüchterverein” (lit. “rabbit-breeding club”). There’s another word for an organization which is bad at what it does because nobody cares: “Saftladen” (lit. “juice shop”).
The issues identified in of part one of this post led to yet another search for solutions to the problem of making (especially passive) measurement repeatable. Of course, this has been done before, but I took as an initial principle that the social aspects of the problem must be solved socially, and worked from there. What emerged was a set of requirements and an architecture for a computing environment and set of associated administrative processes which allows analysis of network traffic data while minimizing risk to the privacy of the network’s end users as well as ensuring spatial and temporal repeatability of the experiment. For lack of a better name I decided to call an instance of a collection of data using this architecture an analysis vault.
Part one of this post painted a somewhat bleak picture of the state of Internet measurement as a science. The dreariness will continue later this month in part two. And yet there seems to be quite a lot of measuring the Internet going on. It can’t all be that bad, can it?
Moving beyond the BSD sockets API in transport evolution.
Making the Internet architecture’s implicit path layer explicit.
A tool for active measurement of Internet path transparency.
A 30-month, H2020-funded research project to explore the three-way tussle among the increasing deployment of encryption in the Internet, the evolution of transport protocols, and the provision of network functions by middleboxes.
Making better Swiss beer, twenty liters at a time.
A guide to seeing Switzerland with a sea kayak
Thu, May 26, 2016, MAT WG, RIPE 72, Copenhagen, May 2016
Mon, Mar 7, 2016, Cisco / Ecole Polytechnique Symposium, Paris, March 2016
Wed, Nov 4, 2015, IAB Technical Plenary, IETF 94, Yokohama, November 2015