Clavius Distinguished Lecture

The Internet at the Speed of Light

Friday, March 31, 2017 | 6 p.m.
12th-Floor Lounge | Corrigan Conference Center
Lowenstein Center | Lincoln Center Campus

Bruce Maggs, Ph.D.
Pelham Wilder Professor of Computer Science, Duke University
Vice President for Research, Akamai Technologies

For the past two decades, Internet service providers have focused on increasing the amount of bandwidth available to home users. But for many Internet services, such as electronic commerce and search, reducing latency is the key to improving the user experience and increasing service provider revenues. While in principle the speed of the Internet could nearly match the speed of light, in practice inefficiencies in the physical infrastructure and in network protocols result in latencies that are often one to two orders of magnitude larger than lower bound implied by the speed of light. Hence, we propose a challenge to the networking research community: build a speed-of-light Internet. This talk explores the various causes of delay on the Internet, sketches out two approaches for improving the physical infrastructure, and explores which applications will benefit most from reduced latency.

Event Schedule

Joseph M. McShane, S.J.
President of Fordham University

D. Frank Hsu, Ph.D.
Clavius Distinguished Professor of Science
Department of Computer and Information Science, Fordham University

The Internet at the Speed of Light
Bruce Maggs, Ph.D.
Pelham Wilder Professor of Computer Science, Duke University
Vice President for Research, Akamai Technologies

Reception to Follow

About Christopher Clavius, S.J.

Christopher Clavius, S.J., was a celebrated 16th-century mathematician and astronomer. In 1582, upon request from Pope Gregory XIII, Clavius helped develop the Gregorian calendar, which is still in use today. For 45 years, Clavius was a university professor at the Jesuit-run Collegio Romano, now known as the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he advocated master classes to position Jesuit trainees at the forefront of European scholarship. One of his students, Matteo Ricci, S.J., later translated Clavius’ works into Chinese, which ushered in a period of scientific innovations in China. Widely considered the most influential scholar and teacher of the Renaissance, Clavius was an early advocate of Galileo Galilei, whose heliocentric model of the universe upended the longstanding Ptolemaic system.

About Bruce Maggs, Ph.D.

Bruce Maggs, Ph.D., received the S.B., S.M., and Ph.D. degrees in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1985, 1986, and 1989, respectively. His advisor was Charles Leiserson. After spending one year as a postdoctoral associate at MIT, he worked as a research scientist at NEC Research Institute in Princeton, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1993. In 1994, he moved to Carnegie Mellon University, where he stayed until joining Duke University in 2009 as a professor in the Department of Computer Science. While on a two-year leave of absence from Carnegie Mellon, Maggs helped to launch Akamai Technologies, serving as its first vice president for research and development. He retains a part-time role at Akamai as vice president for research.

Maggs’ research focuses on networking, distributed systems, and security. In 1986, he became the first winner (with Charles Leiserson) of the Daniel L. Slotnick Award for Most Original Paper at the International Conference on Parallel Processing, and in 1994 he received an NSF National Young Investigator Award. He was co-chair of the 1993–1994 DIMACS Special Year on Massively Parallel Computing and has served on the steering committees for three events of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM): the Symposium on Parallelism in Algorithms and Architectures, the Internet Measurement Conference, and the HotNets Conference. He has also served on the program committees of ACM events including the Symposium on Theory of Computing, the Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, the Symposium on Principles of Distributed Computing, and the conference of the Special Interest Group on Data Communication.