Today at UCLA we had the privilege of having Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist at Google also known as one of the “fathers of the internet”, give an amazing talk. Below is a video of him giving the same talk at Google.
I tried writing a bio, but the one given to us at UCLA for the seminar does a much better job:
Vinton G. Cerf is VP and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. Cerf served at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, at DARPA and as a member of the Stanford University Faculty. Cerf co-invented the architecture and basic protocols of the Internet. He has received the U.S. National Medal of Technology, ACM Turing award, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Japan Prize. Vint Cerf served as chairman of the board of ICANN and as founding president of the Internet Society. He is a Fellow of the IEEE, ACM, and American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the International Engineering Consortium, the Computer History Museum, the National Academy of Engineering and a member of the American Philosophical Society. Cerf holds a BS degree from Stanford University and MS and Ph.D. degrees from UCLA. He has received eighteen honorary degrees. – UCLA
The main point of the presentation was to gain interest in fellow MS and Ph.D. students in order to re-think the internet as there are lots of tough internet research problems out there. Below, I’ll summarize some of these major problems he addressed:
- A universal method of authenticated one self on the internet instead of using passwords that can easily be lost, forgotten, or stolen.
- The challenge of going for IPv4 to IPv6 as some devices will require to have both addresses since some services on the internet only can serve either IPv4 or IPv6
- The notion of a broadcast. Packets are currently sent one by one to multiple recipients. What if we wanted to send the same packet to hundreds of users such as a radio broadcast?
- How do we address bit rot? When the software that is needed to interpet these bits is not supported anymore in the future?
- How do we determine what packets that are transmitted are safe? Some of these are sent crypted and when the destination opens this packet, it might be malware/virus/trojan horse. Security on the Internet?
- How do we integrate cloud computing to make significant changes in the internet’s ecosystem?
- How do we use satellites orbiting in our solar system to become nodes in order to create an Interplanetary extension of the Internet?
So there you have it. You have any ideas on how to solve these problems? If you do let me know. Approaches to these problems would certainly be great projects for obtaining a Ph.D.
Before I close off, I’d like to share the most memorable quote from his speech. Vint mentioned that when there was about 400 computers on the internet, he wanted everyone to start adopting TCP/IP but no one would do it. So he decided to do the following:
He mentioned after that, the adoption rate steadily increased. Then he did it again, and again when it would plateau in order to continue having everyone adopt the new protocol.
If you haven’t and are interested, make sure to check out the talk above.