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Rethinking Internet Traffic Management Using Optimization Theory

Dr. Jennifer Rexford
Princeton University

April 2, 2009
JEC 3117, 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Refreshments at 3:30 p.m.


In the Internet today, traffic management spans congestion control (at end hosts), routing protocols (on routers), and traffic engineering (by network operators). Historically, this division of functionality evolved organically. This talk presents a top-down redesign of traffic management using recent innovations in optimization theory. First, we propose an objective function that captures the goals of end users and network operators. Using all known optimization decomposition techniques, we generate four distributed algorithms that divide traffic over multiple paths based on feedback from the network links. Combining the best features of the algorithms, we construct a traffic management protocol that is distributed, adaptive, robust, flexible and easy to manage. Further, our new protocol can operate based on implicit feedback about packet loss and delay. We show that using optimization decompositions as a foundation, simulations as a building block, and human intuition as a guide can be a principled approach to protocol design. This is joint work with Jiayue He, Martin Suchara, Ma'ayan Bresler, and Mung Chiang.


Jennifer Rexford is a Professor in the Computer Science department at Princeton University. From 1996-2004, she was a member of the Network Management and Performance department at AT&T Labs--Research. Jennifer is co-author of the book "Web Protocols and Practice" (Addison-Wesley, May 2001). She served as the chair of ACM SIGCOMM from 2003 to 2007, and currently serves on the CRA Board of Directors and the ACM Council. Jennifer received her BSE degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University in 1991, and her MSE and PhD degrees in computer science and electrical engineering from the University of Michigan in 1993 and 1996, respectively. She was the 2004 winner of ACM's Grace Murray Hopper Award for outstanding young computer professional.

Hosted by: Dr. Elliot Anshelevich (x6491)

Last updated: March 26, 2009