Jasleen Kaur

COMP 991: Independent Research Projects


Questions? Email the instructor.


This web-page is created for first-year and second-year graduate students who are looking for ideas/advisors for independent research projects. Here, I've described the type of research we conduct, as well as provided a sample list of well-defined ideas for independent research projects (COMP 991). Most of these sample projects are scoped to be completed within 2-3 semesters, but are likely to lead to other interesting issues that can be pursued in the form of a PhD dissertation as well.

The list provided below is intended to merely help prospective students who do not already have research ideas that they would like to pursue. If you do have other interests in the general area of Networks and/or Distributed Systems, feel free to send me an email or talk to me.

Research Theme:

TCP/IP is the dominant transport protocol used in the Internet. The most useful service semantics provided by TCP is that of "reliability" and flow control. In order to avoid congestion collapse in the Internet, TCP also incorporates mechanisms for "congestion control". While this mix of mechanisms seems to work well for traditional applications such as the web---which is characterized by short TCP transfers---it is not clear how well do these mechanisms work for newer applications (large file transfers) and high-speed networks. It is the goal of our research to understand the scalability of traditional TCP mechanisms for newer requirements, and to explore the design of alternate mechanisms where traditional ones fail.

Over the past few years, we've been involved in several projects related to the design of scalable monitoring infrastructures, accurate probing techniques, as well as passive analysis of traces of real Internet sessions. Details about these projects can be found here .

Most of these projects involve the use of several skills---as illustrated below---to conduct research, including analytical modeling, mechanism design, passive analysis, implementation in a prototype, and experimentation.




Suggested Topics for Independent Research Projects (COMP 991):

With the above-described research theme in mind, the following research problems are of immediate interest (and build on our recent work in this area). Some of these projects are smaller in scope than others and would be pursued in collaboration with existing PhD students. All of these require good experimental and analytical skills.


Previous COMP 991 Offerings:


This project was started as COMP 991 research in Fall 2007. It has been fairly successful and has produced a very interesting new congestion-control protocol and is currently being submitted to a leading conference.


The design of congestion control mechanisms for TCP-like transport protocols is an active area of research, especially for the evolving high-speed networks of tomorrow. A key challenge faced by researchers is balancing the tradeoff between scalability (to high network speeds) and "friendliness" to existing Internet traffic. Several window-based protocols have been developed and implemented that attempt to quickly converge on the correct window, while being "nice" to regular network traffic. The result often has traces of legacy TCP mechanisms, which have been hacked, twisted, and tuned in order to achieve better scalability, while preserving the friendliness of regular TCP.

In this research project, we take an alternate view that a traditional window-based transport protocol is especially unsuitable for high-speed regimes, especially due to its bursty behavior. Instead, we believe that recently developed light-weight mechanisms for quickly and reliably probing for the end-to-end available bandwidth, can be leveraged for designing rate-based protocols that quickly converge on the right sending rate.

Research-components/open-issues in this project: