Archive for the ‘N is for Node’ Category

Extraordinary Mind Vint Cerf Predicts the Future of Mobile

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Vator TV reports that Vint Cerf appeared at the Churchill Club in Menlo Park, CA and offered three thoughts on the future of mobile.

Following are Vint’s predictions, paraphrased by technology trends and news editor, Matt Bowen.

1. Your mobile will become your remote.
You can easily predict that more and more appliances of all kinds—refrigerators, office equipment, etc, will be part of the Internet. That’s significant to mobile because once you connect all these things, the mobile is the remote controller for all these things, or it becomes the way to reach an intermediary that makes those decisions for you. You get rid of all the remote controls, and you might get some help from a third party.

2. There will be Internet capability in autos, and mobile will help us get there.
A car that doesn’t yet have Internet capability, when you get into our car with your mobile, you become the router. Have you ever been in a traffic jam and you didn’t know where it ends, but you know that everyone whizzing by on the other side knows? That information should be coming to you, and it will.

3. Interplanetary-grade connectivity
The current android operating system has a lot of experiments. For NASA, I’m trying to see if we can put the interplanetary protocols on top of Android Operating System, not because I want you to be able to call Mars, but because they’re more robust than what we currently have. What I’m anticipating is that if this works in the civilian mobile environment, we might see that suite of protocols in addition to the other ones we’re currently using today. And if that’s true, then you’d be able to have interactions that ordinarily wouldn’t work very well because communication breaks if connectivity breaks, but the DTN protocols are more robust in that regard.

Also, you may wonder, why are we creating an interplanetary network? Some people think, “Oh, you’re building this interplanetary network in hopes that somebody may come.” That’s not what we’re planning. All of our interplanetary work involves point-to-point radio links to communicate the spacecraft back to earth. There’s something called the deep space network which the jet propulsion laboratory runs which has three big 70-meter antennas that are stationed about 120 degrees apart on the earth, Madrid, Spain, Canberra, Australia and Goldstone, California so no matter how the earth rotates, those big antennas can see out into the solar system. But most of the applications have been point-to-point radio links. Well, that’s a very plain kind of network. Maybe like a radio relay, and that’s about it. If we had richer protocols for these systems, we could build much more complex missions that involved multiple spacecraft, maybe multiple orbiters.

My colleagues are designing these protocols to be used by all of the space-faring nations. The interplanetary network is an open source, open system; anyone can use it. And if they start to using these protocols as standards, then anyone’s spacecraft will be able to communicate with anyone else’s spacecraft. When you complete the primary mission, the spacecraft often survive well beyond that, so they can be re-purposed as part of a communication system. What I’m anticipating is that as we launch new missions, the previous missions’ assets will become part of an interplanetary backbone. I’m guessing that over the coarse of the next several decades we will actually grow an interplanetary system. That’ll be wonderful and useful overtime for both human and robotic exploration.

In a conversation with Sputnik Observatory, Vint shares his view of the future of mobile communications due to the advancement of the interplanetary internet.

SPTNK transcript

What will the Net look like in 2020?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Photo via flickr the waving cat

According to Network World, we won’t recognize the Internet in 10 years. Computer scientists are re-thinking everything.

The National Science Foundation’s Network Technology and System (NeTS) program plans to select anywhere from two to four large-scale research projects to receive grants worth as much as $9 million each to prototype future Internet architectures with bids due first quarter 2010. The challenge is for researchers to come up with ideas that are more secure and more available for everyone: managing user’s identities, embracing wireless optical technologies; consideration of societal impacts.

The Internet research projects chosen for prototyping will run on a new virtual networking lab being built by BBN Technologies. The lab is dubbed GENI for the Global Environment for Network Innovations. The GENI program has developed experimental network infrastructure that’s being installed in U.S. universities. This infrastructure will allow researchers to run large-scale experiments of new Internet architectures in parallel with —but separated from — the day-to-day traffic running on today’s Internet.

Following are 2 experimental projects:


Researchers from Howard University in Washington, D.C. will be experimenting with a new type of mobile wireless network on the GENI platform called Opportunistic Networks. Opportunistic networks would use peer-to-peer communications to transfer communications if the network is unavailable. For example, you may want to send an e-mail from a car in a remote location without network access. With an opportunistic wireless network, your PDA might send that message to a device inside a passing vehicle, which might take the message to a nearby cell tower. Opportunistic mobile networks would be useful for emergency response if the network infrastructure is wiped out by a disaster or is unavailable for a period of time, or for developing countries such as India, which isn’t by traditional wireless infrastructure such as cell towers.


Davis Social Links is an architecture based on social networking that was developed at the University of California at Davis.

Davis Social Links uses the format of Facebook — with its friends-based ripple effect of connectivity — to propagate connections on the Internet. That’s how it creates connections based on trust and true identities, according to S. Felix Wu, a professor in the Computer Science Department at UC Davis.

“If somebody sends you an e-mail, the only information you have about whether this e-mail is valuable is to look at the sender’s e-mail which can be faked and then look at the content,” Wu says. “If you could provide the receiver of the e-mail with the social relationship with the sender, this will actually help the receiver to set up certain policies about whether the message should be higher or lower priority.”

Also, the social control layer interface under Davis Social Links is like a social version of Google.  You type some keywords…and the social Google will give you a list of pointers to some of the social content matching the keywords and the social path to that content.

via Network World


Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Photo via flickr by Graffiti Land

JASON is an independent scientific advisory group that provides consulting services to the U.S. government on matters of defense science and technology. JASON was established in 1960, and all members, including physicists, biologists, chemists, mathematicians and computer scientists, are selected because of their scientific brilliance.

JASON typically performs most of its work during an annual summer study, and has conducted studies under contract to the Department of Defense (frequently DARPA and the U.S. Navy), the Department of Energy, the U.S. Intelligence Community, and the FBI.  For administrative purposes, JASON’s activities are run through the MITRE Corporation, a non-profit corporation in McLean, Virginia, which contracts with the Defense Department.

Approximately half of the resulting JASON reports are unclassified, and a selection of unclassified JASON studies can be found at JASON Defense Advisory Panel Reports.

One such study in March 2008 is titled “Human Performance” (Project Number: 13079022), with the Sponsoring/Monitoring Agency being the Office of Defense Research and Engineering (ODDR&E). The abstract reads as follows: “The tasking for this study was to evaluate the potential for adversaries to exploit advances in Human Performance Modification, and thus create a threat to national security. In making this assessment, we were asked to evaluate long-term scenarios. We have thus considered the present state of the art in pharmaceutical intervention in cognition and in brain-computer interfaces, and considered how possible future developments might proceed and be used by adversaries.”

Individuals who briefed JASON on this “Human Performance” study include the following:

Lily Johnston; Jenny Haward and Kevin Dean of the Defence System Analysis Division, Australian Department of Defence; Eric W. Wasserman, M.D., Brain Stimulation Unit, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health; Harris R. Lieberman, Ph.D., Military Nutrition Division, U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; Gary Hazlett, Yale University, Robert Mitchell Centre for RPOW Studies, and NIMH; Hans P.A. Van Dongen, Sleep and Performance Research Center, Washington State University, Spokane; Adam Russell and Bartlett Bulkley, Scitor Corporation; Ann M. Rasmusson, Yale University School of Medicine, VA National Center for PTSD, Clinical Neuroscience Division; Douglas Kalman, Ph.D. Candidate, Nutritional and Exercise Biochemistry, Touro University; Gary Lynch, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Irvine; Thomas H. Karas, Advanced Concepts Group, Sandia National Laboratories.

N is for Node

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

We’re still at a very early stage of network evolution, although people like Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf and John Perry Barlow have been living the story for years. The internet itself, although a global phenomenon, has only penetrated about one billion users, but there’s another five-and-a-half billion people on Earth. Right now, the net is strongly focused on people-oriented activities, whether it’s email or social network, soon there could be as many as seventeen billion devices on the internet, which is approximately 3 times the amount of people living on the planet. So, for instance, all of our devices, PDA’s, mobiles, computers, televisions, refrigerators, air conditioners, security systems, could all potentially be online. In a device-rich environment, the business opportunity to manage these devices will occur, and subsequently, these devices will begin to interact with each other. The emergence of the “internet of things” is also interpreted and dubbed “spimes” by science fiction author Bruce Sterling to describe a future where all manufactured objects are digitally tagged and linked to extensive information systems to be forever trackable, findable, uniquely identifiable, and generate histories. As objects become aware or “things that think,” waste management will not only become hyper-efficient, but sensory systems and mobile communications will also begin to rely upon shared data and build dynamic meshes, a system where everybody helps everybody else, allowing for devices to communicate locally, ending our dependency upon telecommunications infrastructure or the ubiquitous grid. As networks become a metagesture of expression, where it’s the interaction and aggregate of billions of little gestures that serves to create and maintain whole systems in motion, it’s interesting to see that those ’60s prime green vibes of communal spirit and fellowship have survived. And perhaps, as we move forward in creating our net-centric world, reinventing not only our economy but education and perception, we will begin to see networks and their interrelations everywhere: whether it’s String Theory, dark matter, neurons, or even found, curiously inside, that hippiedrome magical mushroom mycellium.