The Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communications announced earlier this summer that a paper by Brown CS Professor Theophilus A. Benson won their 2022 Test of Time Award. The paper, “Network traffic characteristics of data centers in the wild,” was written by Theophilus, Aditya Akella of UT Austin, and David A. Maltz of Microsoft Research. Bestowed annually, the award recognizes 10- to 12-year-old papers published in sponsored or co-sponsored conferences that remain relevant and valuable in the present.
Theophilus’ paper examined ten data centers to glean a better understanding of “the network-level traffic characteristics” that underlie modern data centers in general. By collecting statistics, employing topological techniques of data analysis, and monitoring the flow of data through its network, he and his collaborators were able to build and improve on existing data-center architectures to “help inform data center traffic engineering and QoS approaches, as well as recent techniques for managing other resources,” according to the study.
“I started this project to satisfy a curiosity about modern data centers and, as the project grew, it became clear that there was a much fundamental need for such systematic analysis of data centers from both industry and academia,” Theo says. “That’s a demand the paper continues to satisfy, even today.”
Theophilus and his research group focus on developing models and designing algorithms and frameworks to improve the performance and availability of computer networks. In particular, his group explores the critical role that network state plays in determining network performance and availability with the state’s inherent semantics and emergent state management techniques by investigating designs and algorithms to understand and manage this state more holistically. More recently, they’ve applied this approach to addressing the digital divide, improving microservices/clouds, managing software defined networks, and rethinking CDN designs. His team’s designs and systems have been deployed at web scale companies, adopted by open-source systems, and acquired by a large hardware manufacturer.
For more information, click the link that follows to contact Brown CS Communications Manager Jesse C. Polhemus.