Winstein uses computer-designed algorithms to boost transmissions for network congestion


July 29, 2013

a faster internet?

TCP, the transmission control protocol, is one of the core protocols governing the Internet: If counted as a computer program, it’s the most widely used program in the world. One of TCP’s main functions is to prevent network congestion by regulating the rate at which computers send data.

At the annual conference of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Data Communication this summer, researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and Center for Wireless Networks and Mobile Computing will present a computer system, dubbed Remy, that automatically generates TCP congestion-control algorithms. In the researchers’ simulations, algorithms produced by Remy significantly outperformed algorithms devised by human engineers.

“I think people can think about what happens to one or two connections in a network and design around that,” says Hari Balakrishnan, the Fujitsu Professor in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who co-authored the new paper with graduate student Keith Winstein. “When you have even a handful of connections, or more, and a slightly more complicated network, where the workload is not a constant — a single file being sent, or 10 files being sent — that’s very hard for human beings to reason about. And computers seem to be a lot better about navigating that search space.” Continue reading on MIT NEWS.

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