Event:    LESS Seminar Series

Speaker:  Kenneth P. Birman
          Cornell University

Title:    "The Next Generation Internet:  Unsafe at any speed?"

Date:     Thursday, February 17, 2000

Time:     11:00 a.m.

Coffee:   10:30 a.m., Taylor Hall 3.128

Place:    Taylor Hall 2.106

Host:     Lorenzo Alvisi


There is a debate concerning the future directions that the Internet
should take.  Support has been building for the Next Generation
Internet (NGI) Initiative, which would greatly enhance the performance
and scalability of the current Internet, while also providing improved
Internet access for K-12 schools and investing in new kinds of Internet
uses, such as for providing government services over the network.
These include safety, revenue and life-critical systems which have
traditionally been developed using special-purpose computing technology.  
The NGI envisions a steady transition of such systems onto a commercial
off-the-shelf technology base. There really isn't any alternative; only 
standard technologies yield cost-effective systems.  But this begs the 
question: What needs to be done to transform the current Internet into 
the NGI, if critical applications will run upon it?  In particular, if 
the current Internet is unsafe for such applications, why should we expect 
the NGI to be more safe?  The talk suggests that as things stand, the NGI 
will not be safe for critical uses, but also that a simple "virtual 
overlay network" capability could be developed to plug the major