About the Internet Computing Lab

The idea for the Brown Internet Computing Lab arose from the need to study Internet-scale problems in an academic setting.

Increasingly, software is becoming more and more dependent upon future Internet applications. However, it is difficult to experiment and research problems on a scale as large as that of the Internet. On the one hand, small scale implementations lack the capability to simulate the extensive range of conditions and unpredictability of the Internet. Small scale implementations may work where their Internet-scale counterparts fail. But, on the other hand, it is not feasible to execute large scale experiments when they could potentially cause widespread problems on the "real" Internet. Further, these limitations increase the difficulty of teaching about Internet-scale problems when students cannot see, firsthand, the issues and problems that arise during the normal course of events.

The Brown Internet Computing Laboratory is a solution to this research gap. Systems research on Internet problems need to address Internet-induced differences. The lab seeks to provide a means to enable research at Internet scale and a controllable environment suitable for experimentation. The framework of the lab simulates an environment seen by an Internet application with Internet-related issues such as load, network performance, and hardware/software.

The lab allows a localized environment for research problems on Internet issues as well. By using webcrawling software, the lab can maintain an accessible snapshot of the web at a given point in time. It can also serve as a base for experimenting wth security and other concerns detachable from the Internet.