Mar. 17 - Net Neutrality: An Engineering Perspective with Vishal Misra

On Tuesday, March 17 at 2:30pm in CS 2311, Vishal Misra, PhD, Associate Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University, will present to the Department of Computer Science at Stony Brook University on network neutrality.

The subject of his talk, Network Neutrality: An Engineering Perspective, is a hot-topic in the media with the recent Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruling that regulates broadband Internet service as a public utility (The New York Times, 2/27/2015). This momentous decision will help to ensure the Internet’s role as a “core of free expression and democratic principles” and that content is not blocked or split into pay-to-play scenarios.

This past November, President Obama urged the FCC to enact the “strongest possible rules” for a free and open Internet. A bi-partisan debate also sparked controversy not just politically, but also legally, socially and scientifically.

Misra’s talk will examine net neutrality from the engineering and networking perspective. Employing cooperative game theory and a careful model of the Internet including topology, peering relationships, and protocols, Misra’s primary conclusion is that the network neutrality challenge is secondary to the lack of market competition amongst broadband providers. Misra will discuss paid peering, the inadequacies of strict network neutrality regulation when competition exists, and the proposed Public Option ISP. A Public Option ISP would solve many of problems without the need for regulatory support.

Vishal Misra’s research emphasis is on mathematical modeling of networking systems, bridging the gap between practice and analysis. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Computer Science Department at Columbia University from 2009 to 2011, and in 2011 he spun out Infinio, a company in the area of datacenter storage. He is also credited with inventing live-microblogging at Cricinfo, a company he co-founded while a graduate student at UMass Amherst, predating Twitter by 10 years. Cricinfo was later acquired by ESPN and is still the world’s most popular sports portal.

CS faculty member Phillipa Gill, whose research interests include measuring online information controls, i.e., censorship, traffic differentiation, arranged for Prof. Misra’s visit to campus.