Network Protocols: Myths, Missteps, and Mysteries

October 22, 2015
2:50 pm - 4:00 pm
Halligan 102
Speaker: Radia Perlman, EMC
Host: Lenore Cowen


So much of what "everyone knows" about network protocols is, actually false. For instance, why do we need both Ethernet and IP? The "obvious" answer is that IP is "layer 3" and Ethernet is "layer 2", but in fact, once Ethernet stopped being a single wire with CSMA/CD, it became a layer 3 protocol. So the right question is "why do we use two layer 3 protocols?" The answer is subtle and leads to discussion of how Ethernet became a "layer 3" protocol, and evolution to TRILL and other overlay networks. There are also buzzwords such as "SDN", and fads such as "active networks" and "Information-centric networking". This talk will demystify these, as time and audience interest allows..

Bio: Radia Perlman is an EMC Fellow. She has made many contributions to the fields of network routing and security protocols including robust and scalable network routing, spanning tree bridging, distributed computation resilient to malicious participants, and time-based expiration of data from a cloud. She wrote the textbook “Interconnections”, and cowrote the textbook “Network Security”. She holds over 100 issued patents. She has received numerous industry awards including lifetime achievement awards from ACM’s SIGCOMM and Usenix, election to National Academy of Engineering, induction into the Internet Hall of Fame, the first Anita Borg Woman of Vision award for innovation, and an honorary doctorate from KTH (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden). She has a PhD in computer science from MIT.