To fund in perpetuity a laboratory to memorialize the life-long
accomplishments of Dr. Jonathan B. Postel, internet pioneer.
In order to reach this objective, the Information Sciences Institute
of the University of Southern California (USC-ISI) must establish
an endowment fund to generate sufficient annual operational
revenues to accomplish meaningful research. Cisco Corporation
has generously provided the seed money to inaugurate the Center.
Additional contributions are needed to achieve a degree of funding
which will sustain the Center at the necessary level of excellence.
of the Center
The Center will include the following elements:
Dedicated laboratory space for the conduct of experiments
in networking at USC-ISI. The lab provides an environment
where applied research could be conducted with leading edge
equipment, software, and facilities
Visiting Scholar positions that would support a visiting
scientist from industry, academia, or government. The recipient
of the award would be a seasoned researcher who would take
sabbatical leave from his/her employer to spend time on a
research agenda of the recipient's choice.
Fellowship positions that would support an outstanding graduate
student and be awarded annually. Fellowship recipients would
be expected to perform work in conjunction with the visiting
scholar's research agenda.
Staff positions to provide leadership/management of the Center
and manpower to carry out sponsored research projects. Initially,
management of the Center would be provided at ISI's expense.
A Center Advisory Board composed of leaders in the field
of networking who will make recommendations to ISI's Executive
Director concerning the research thrusts and operation of
the Center, and who will also participate in the selection
of Visiting Scholar and Fellowship positions. Said board members
will receive reimbursement of expenses and no other compensation.
The number of members on the board will reflect the size of
the endowment. Any organization that funds a visiting scholar
or a fellowship would have the right to nominate a Board member.
To promote Dr. Postel's career-long commitment to applied
research in Internet technologies, the Center will focus its
activities on experimental-based research in networking and
communications. The vision underlying this model is that the
Center will attract a talented group of systems-oriented researchers
who are adept at rapid prototyping and deployment of new technologies.
The intent is to foster the research charter through specific
goals set by the Center's stewards, while avoiding the exercise
of a tight rein over the topics to be investigated by researchers
affiliated with the Center. The research model to be applied
will include a community of experts and students who pursue
such topics as: protocol engineering; routing and forwarding;
the development and integration of new link technologies;
network-based services and applications; the development of
tools to aid in the design, analysis, and testing of network
protocols; network security; congestion control and avoidance;
empirical measurement and traffic modeling; and network management.
Center affiliates will be drawn from ISI and visiting staff.
Collaboration among affiliates will be strongly encouraged.
Two key, interrelated elements of the Center's operating
concept are Visiting Scholars and Fellowship students. The
probability of attracting a top-notch Visiting Scholar will
be enhanced substantially if the Center provides support to
the visitor in the form of a well-qualified graduate student
who can work closely with the visitor in pursuit of a challenging
research topic. The fellowship's tenure of award will typically
be for multiple years to attract the very best candidates,
while the visitor's tenure of award will vary from six to
12 months. The visitor will also enjoy the full range of support
offered to other ISI staff. Providing theses levels of support
for the visitor is expected to be a powerful magnet for attracting
high-quality Visiting Scholars.
Tightly coupled to the Center's research mission will be
an educational function, the aim of which is to develop graduate
students into experimental networking researchers. Affiliated
researchers will therefore bear responsibility for initiating
fellowship recipients in the practice of their craft. Training
will usually be a one-on-one experience between the Visiting
Scholar and the Fellow. Classroom teaching by the visitor
will not be required, but visitors who wish to teach classes
will be encouraged to do so, subject to approval by the USC
School of Engineering. As a supplement to the fellowship recipient's
classroom and laboratory training, it would be very desirable
to offer summer internships at Cisco, in order to round out
the Fellow's education and further strengthen the fellowship's
commitment to experimental, applied networking.
Critical to the success of the Center is the availability
of resources for conducting experiments. ISI would equip the
Center with laboratory facilities needed to develop, demonstrate,
and evaluate new networking systems. Additionally, ISI's rich
infrastructure, which includes the Los Nettos Internet Service
Provider, the Collaborative Advanced Internet Research Network
(CAIRN) testbed, the CalREN 2 regional network, the Active
Nets Backbone, and other advanced networks, will be available
for use by the Center's staff. Complementing these testbeds
and operational networks will be equipment for monitoring
and measuring the performance and workloads of the networks.
Because "virtual infrastructure," such as simulation
environments and testing tools, are increasingly important
to developing real systems that can scale to sizes much larger
than todays deployed systems, it is essential to provide the
Center with software that aids the experimentalist in designing
and implementing new protocols and services. The Virtual Internet
Testbed (VINT), an ns-based software simulator developed by
ISI, the Multicast Internet Tester (MINT), a multicast testing
tool under development at ISI, and the X-Bone, a system for
automated virtual network deployment and management developed
by ISI, are examples of "virtual infrastructure"
that will be part of the Center's repertoire.
A final ingredient of the Center's research model is technology
transfer. Supporters of the Center will be encouraged to adopt
technologies, code, and inventions that are developed in the
Center. ISI will provide research papers to supporters and
host visitors from contributing organizations. In addition,
ISI will conduct a symposium once a year to disseminate results
of the laboratory's research program.
In conclusion, research to be conducted at the Center is
characterized as follows:
- Experimentally based research with an emphasis on developing
and demonstrating working systems.
- Rapid deployment of new technologies, especially Internet
- Providing a rich environment of infrastructure, both physical
- Promoting cross-fertilization of ideas by encouraging
external researchers to spend time at the Center and providing
them with the resources to make significant contributions.
- The integration of research, training, and technology
Cisco Systems will provide an enabling endowment to inaugurate
the center. ISI will provide funds to pay facilities and other
overhead costs, and to augment the research agenda. Other
donors will be solicited to donate equipment, other in-kind
gifts, and cash gifts to further the mission of the Center.
If sufficient funds are provided by any one party or organization
to fund a Chair, visiting Scholar, or fellowship, that party
or organization will have the right to nominate someone to
the Advisory Board and also to have their name included in
the title of that position.
Use of Funds
Earnings from endowment funds will be used at the discretion
of ISI's Executive Director in a manner that fulfills the
intent of the donation and objectives of the Center. In general,
the highest priority will be placed on spending the endowment
earnings on fellowship recipients, the visiting scholar program,
and other costs central to fulfilling the mission of the Center.
Initially, ISI will provide funds to pay for facilities and
related overhead expenses, thus assuring that the endowment
funds are channeled primarily to compensation for researchers,
and thereby directly supporting the mission of the Center.
Because of the need to phase in the Center's financial resources,
ISI's financial commitment will in all likelihood be greatest
in the formative years of the Center. ISI will endeavor to
keep the equipment and apparatus of the laboratory up-to-date
and in excellent working order.