Department of 
Computer Science

Boom in Industry Funding for DiRT Group
Posted: 21 May 2001

Recently, researchers in the Distributed and Real-Time Systems (DiRT) group, in the Department of Computer Science at UNC-Chapel Hill, have been successful at obtaining significant industry funding to help support a variety of Internet-related research projects. Kevin Jeffay, S. S. Jones professor, reports that within the last year Cabletron, Cisco Systems, Dell Computer Corp., IBM Corp., Lucent Corp., MCNC, the North Carolina Networking Initiative (NCNI), and Sun Microsystems have all provided funding. A multi-year Intel equipment grant also continues to provide support.

An award from Dell Computer Corp. is helping to fund the networking component of an outreach project to introduce public school students to nanotechnology. The Dell STAR (Strategic Technology and Research) program, has awarded Jeffay, Don Smith, research professor, and Russell M. Taylor II, research associate professor, a $25,000 grant for their proposal, "Multimedia Networking Research in Support of Virtual Field Trips." The goal is both to provide additional funding for nanoManipulator outreach efforts and to use the resulting "virtual field trips" as vehicles for furthering multimedia networking research.

An IBM Shared University Research Grant equipment grant awarded last October to Jeffay, Smith, and Paul Jones of Information and Library Science, is providing $250,000 worth of equipment to support networking and Internet technologies research. Two-thirds of the equipment is for servers to run the information repository for ibiblio, UNC's new digital library ( Jones is its chief architect. With its one-third of the award, Computer Science has received several IBM Netfinity computers and servers that are being used to collect and analyze network trace data. Jeffay, Smith, and students are using the resulting data to research how the nature of Internet traffic evolves over time and how the congestion control and quality-of-service mechanisms proposed for the Internet must evolve in turn.

In addition to the IBM hardware, Jeffay and Smith also received an $80,000 equipment grant from Sun Microsystems as part of Sun's Academic Equipment Grant (AEG) program. The Sun systems are Enterprise servers that also will be used for the storage and processing of network traces. Combined, the Sun and IBM equipment grants have raised the storage capacity of the DiRT group's research server farm to multiple terabytes of secondary storage.

Related to the traffic monitoring work is new research on the construction of empirical models of application-level protocols such as HTTP. Cisco has donated $85,000 to Computer Science to support the construction of application-level traffic models from trace data. These models also contribute to the design of advanced congestion control mechanisms for the Internet and are being used by networking researchers both on and off the UNC campus.

Finally, Computer Science has received several graduate fellowships to support networking related research. Students of Jeffay and Ketan Mayer-Patel, assistant professor, received awards through the NCNI Graduate Fellowship Program and the related Cabletron/Aprisma Graduate Fellowship. These programs provide support for graduate student research in the development of middleware for applications to be used in next generation networks. In addition, MCNC and Lucent Corp. have been providing student support for network monitoring and traffic analysis research.

For additional information, contact:
Claire L. Stone
Publications & Publicity Manager
(919) 962-1790

Kevin Jeffay
S.S. Jones Professor
(919) 962-1938

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Department of Computer Science
Campus Box 3175, Sitterson Hall
College of Arts & Sciences
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3175 USA
Phone: (919) 962-1700
Fax: (919) 962-1799

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Posted: 21 May 2001