Need for Speed

Winter 2015

Speed-imgThe Internet has revolutionized the flow of information beyond anyone’s prediction, but to Yair Amir, a professor of computer science and director of the Distributed Systems and T Networks Lab at the Whiting School, the web that we all rely on is already creaky, cranky, and much too slow.

Amir is helping to pioneer the next generation of Internet services in fields including network television broadcasts and remotely directed robotic surgery, where a transmission lapse of as little as 130 milliseconds can have devastating effects. “It’s about moving fast—that’s the nature of the world, isn’t it?” Amir asks.

“It’s about doing things that the Internet can’t do in its present form: combining reliability and timeliness.”

Amir’s work involves developing what he calls “smarter overlay networks that can run on top of the Internet, in the same way that, when it first started, the Internet ran on top of the telephone system.”

He is also chief science officer at LTN Global Communications, which provides instantaneous, online video-delivery platforms for CNN, Bloomberg, Fox, and others. These services allow broadcasters to transport live high-definition programming across the globe without expensive satellites or dedicated fiber-optic cables.

Amir’s next challenge is to move beyond current security software to make the systems that we depend on every day—from department store credit card swipes to the electric power grid—resilient to intrusions.

In Impact