New Stuff 

5-11-2001 : Historical Post-Gazette : Pearl Harbor

5-10-2001 : Release of Privacy P3P - APPEL Source Code

5-9-2001 : Privacy and Your Digital Rights : The Struggling Symbiosis of Technology and Law

Introduction to the Laboratory

The Internet represents a unique opportunity for science and engineering to investigate new concepts for a large scale system that:

  • accesses hundreds of millions of people of all ages and all kinds,
  • accesses hundreds of millions of computers,
  • accesses millions of terabytes of information and computer programs,
  • operates with effective latencies in seconds 
  • operates with effective speeds from thousands to millions of bytes per second,
  • moves many billions of dollars and services electronically every year.

In 1990, no such large-scale system existed.  Surely the Internet, in the aggregate, has the capability of providing new knowledge and services on an unprecedented scale. 

The Internet Systems Laboratory is a scientific engineering laboratory focused on the Internet as the principal subject.  As scientists we have the opportunity to automate large-scale observations of man, machine, and nature.  As engineers we have the opportunity to construct new kinds of devices from those that enable the Internet to those that emerge unexpectedly from the infrastructure already provided. As scientists and engineers we make new observations of men, machines, and nature in order to engineer new infrastructure detail, and to discover emergent new processes. The engineering goal is to improve the functioning of the Internet. This includes improvements to all aspects of our collective global system:

  • increase its service across people of all kinds and all ages,
  • scale to billions of computers, 
  • facilitate access to all the terabytes of information and computer programs,
  • decrease effective latencies to milliseconds, 
  • operate at effective speeds to billions of bytes per second,
  • move trillions of dollars and services electronically every year.
The Internet Systems Laboratory believes "The Internet is in the Details". Often, a very small decision, a very simple device, in exactly the right place, can have enormous engineering impact. Making the right engineering decisions involves deep technical knowledge of how things currently work, careful observation, experimentation, and an understanding of the vision or goal driving the progress.

Given this broad view, there are many tens of thousands of "Internet Systems Laboratories" already underway around the world. For example we can observe that a MEMS Optical Switch laboratory is an Internet Systems Laboratory, since perfecting microelectronic optical switches will most certainly speed up the Internet and lower communications latencies. However, our lab is not driven by one technology, or one field of study, or another. We are interested in looking across all technologies, psychologies, and socio-political processes to discover places where small Internet changes may, unexpectedly, have large-scale impacts. Our field is purely the field of study of Internet Systems. We are driven by the notion that the Internet as a grand system with mutable properties should evolve into the role of a robot servant to individual people and thereby to all people.