Online Journal Club for Networking Researchers

Jim Kurose gets us thinking

Posted by Michael Gellman on December 4, 2006

The morning started off with a fantastic talk by Jim Kurose from University of Massachusetts. He is really a terrific speaker, with a very dynamic style.

Update! I spoke to Jim and he is fine with me posting the audio from his talk. The only caveat is that if you want to re-post this anywhere, you have to get his permission first.

It’s the users, stupid!

I really like he emphasizes the users in his work. In his most recent Sensor Nets project, he is very candid and forth-coming that on the first go, the system they delivered was not adequate for its intended users, but that they went back, re-engineered it, and finally delivered a system that the users could really use. This focus on a practical problems and usable systems is one of the things that got me interested in research, and Jim Kurose really embodies these aspects in his work.

Stovepipes vs Layers

He has a lot of interesting thoughts on larger issues for Sensor Networks, including a converged protocol stack which I think is very compelling. Current approaches are what he calls “stovepipe networks” where every solution is custom-engineered to meet the specific requirements. This could be improved upon if common functionality could be extracted into layers that multiple implementations could leverage — much in the same way IP is a great solution to a number of networking problems.

By working on two very different physical implementations with similar goals, I believe he has gained a great deal of experience in what would be required in a layered architecture, and makes a compelling argument for one.

Other Topics

In addition to his own work, Jim also drew attention to a body of work he referred to as x-ities, which seems to be a way of evaluating seemingly qualitative properties such as “robustness” in a quantitative way. I need to look into this a bit more after the conference. He also briefly touched on his thoughts on IP showing its age. He has a set of slides on his website which depict IP as an aging old man getting “love handles” as it reaches middle age getting ever more “fat”.

Jim Kurose is a great speaker, and if anyone has the opportunity to hear him speak, I recommed it highly. I can understand why he has been awarded the oustanding teacher award so many times!

I have an (unedited) audio recording of the talk. It’s not the best quality as I didn’t get the microphone that close, but it is surely audible. After I get permission from Jim, I’ll post it here.

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One Response to “Jim Kurose gets us thinking”

  1. hh. bookmarked

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