Computer Networks: Myths, Missteps, and Mysteries

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There is much confusion in the field, for many reasons.  A buzzword gets invented, and used as if it means something. Most people are baffled, and assume everyone else knows what it means. People who do think they know what it means have totally different ideas from each other about what it means. Another reason for confusion is hype.  Some ill-defined technology is advertised to be the solution to all problems.  And yet another reason is focusing on only one aspect of the system, such as the syntax of messages, or having provably secure cryptographic algorithms.  Some examples in this talk will be seemingly simple questions like why do we need both Ethernet and IP, or the difference between theory and practice when people browse the Internet using wonderful protocols with perfect cryptography.


Radia Perlman

Pioneer of network design, Inventor of the Spanning Tree Protocol, Fellow @DellTech

Radia Perlman is a Fellow at Dell Technologies. She is known for inventing fundamental networking technology enabling robust, largely self-managing, and scalable link state routing, used in the specific protocol she designed (IS-IS), and similar protocols (OSPF). She also invented the spanning tree algorithm which transformed Ethernet from a technology that supported a few hundred nodes within a single building, to something that could support large networks. She also has made contributions in network security, including scalable data expiration, distributed algorithms despite malicious participants, and DDOS prevention techniques. She is the author of the textbook “Interconnections” (about network layers 2 and 3) and coauthor of “Network Security: Private Communication in a Public World” (the 3rd edition of which was published this year). She has been recognized with many industry honors including induction into the National Academy of Engineering, the Inventor Hall of Fame, The Internet Hall of Fame, Washington State Academy of Science, and lifetime achievement awards from Usenix and SIGCOMM. She has a PhD in computer science from MIT.

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Tuesday Mar 28 / 09:00AM BST ( 1 hours )


Fleming + Whittle (3rd Fl.)