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Wednesday, 28 November 2007

BCS Roger Needham Lecture

One of the nicest things of being a student in Cambridge is the incredible number of excelent talks, seminars, workshops, etc., available. It is very difficult to choose what events to go to each week.

Last week I went to London to attend a lecture by Professor Mark Handley. And what a great lecture it was! Professor Handley has done very significant research on computer networks for the past decade or more, and he is the author of several Internet standards such as SIP and PIM-SM (the de facto IP multicast protocol used by nowadays’ service providers). He is also the co-author of two books, both written together with one of my PhD supervisors, Professor Jon Crowcroft. Here are links for both books: The World Wide Web - Beneath the Surf and Internetworking Multimedia. Professor Handley was this year's winner of the Roger Needham award.

The topic – “Evolving the Internet: Challenges, Opportunities and Consequences” – was very interesting, and Mark touched very sensible points. As a very general summary, the main idea he passed was that the evolution of the Internet must be made with the use of flexible technology. He pointed some problems that should be addressed in the actual Internet: its openness (leading to atacks), congestion problems, and BGP (the de facto standard for interdomain routing). He also gave nice examples taken from his own experience: IP mcast (not totally successful; it is not global as they wanted, it is only used inside single ISPs) and SIP (very successful).

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