Special Joint ECE/CS Distinguished Lecture: Teaching Networks via 20 Questions

October 18, 2012

Refreshment at 3, Talk at 3:30pm
Burden Lounge / Nelson Auditorium
Speaker: Mung Chiang, Princeton
Host: Lenore Cowen, Valencia Joyner Koomson


How does Google sell ad spaces and rank webpages? How does Netflix
recommend movies and Amazon ranks products? How do I influence people on
Facebook and Twitter, and can I really reach anyone in 6 steps? Why
doesn’t the Internet collapse under congestion, and does it have an
Achilles’ heel? Why does each GB of 4G data cost $10, and how come WiFi
is slower at hotspots than at home? How can Skype and BitTorrent can be
free, and what’s inside the cloud of iCloud?

These are some of the 20 questions raised in a new undergraduate course
created at Princeton: "Networks: Friends, Money, and Bytes." It
quantifies foundational ideas in technology, social, and economic
networks, and attracts students from engineering, science, and
economics. The course’s content cuts across the boundaries of different
types of networks without losing domain-specific functionalities. The
course's pedagogical approach is "Just In Time": orienting the entire
course around 20 Questions about networked life and only introduces the
mathematical languages as needed.

I'll discuss what I learned through teaching this course
(www.network20q.com) about networking research and curriculum development.


Mung Chiang is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton
University, and serves as the Director of Graduate Studies in Electrical
Engineering. His research on networking received the 2012 IEEE Kiyo
Tomiyasu Award, a 2008 U.S. Presidential Early Career Award for
Scientists and Engineers, a few young investigator awards, and several
paper awards including the 2012 IEEE INFOCOM Best Paper. He was elected
an IEEE Fellow in 2012. His technology transfer resulted in a few
commercial adoptions and a 2007 Technology Review TR35 Award, and he
founded the Princeton EDGE Lab in 2009. He serves as an IEEE
Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer 2012-2013, and wrote an
undergraduate textbook “Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers.”