Stanford Hosts Extreme Makeover: Internet Edition

Stanford Professor
Nick McKeown
A team of Stanford researchers is mulling what the Internet should look like if it could be rebuilt from scratch.

Called the "Clean Slate Design for the Internet," the project aims to answer the question: ''Is this really how we would build it if we could design it all today?'' according to Nick McKeown, the Stanford computer science associate professor who is leading the project.

''We should be able to answer that question by saying we created exactly what we need, not just that we patched some more holes, made some new tweaks or came up with some more workarounds," said McKeown. "Let's invent the car instead of giving the same horse better hay.''

McKeown and his colleagues have begun working on several projects to start the program. Among them is Ethane, a 400-user wireless network that tests a novel approach to managing network security: first prohibit all communications, then open only those channels that are appropriate to the organization. Another project is looking at ways to give wireless devices the flexibility to find and access pockets of unused spectrum when they need it.

The Clean Slate project members will present their initial ideas tomorrow (March 21) at a meeting of the Stanford Computer Forum.

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About the Author

Paul McCloskey is contributing editor of Syllabus.

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