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14 January 2019

Radia PerlmanSpeaker: Radia Perlman, Dell EMC
Title: Computer Networks: Myths, Missteps, and Mysteries
Host School: UNC
Location: Sn011
Host: Donald Porter (porter at


The only reason networks look like they do today is because of history. Nobody would have designed what exists today.  It just evolved.  This talk focuses on the role of IP and Ethernet in the Internet.  Why do we need both of them?  (The answer may surprise you).  Is IP the best possible network protocol?  In 1992, the proposal was to replace IP with CLNP (the comparable protocol to IP, but designed by ISO). Would this have been an incompatible change to the Internet, whereas converting to IPv6 will just be a simple upgrade to a new version of IP?  What is the difference between a “different protocol” and a “new version of the same protocol”? This talk will explore some of these mysteries.


Radia Perlman’s work has had a profound impact on how computer networks work today. It enables huge networks, like the Internet, to be robust, scalable, and largely self-managing. Her technology also transformed Ethernet from a technology that could support a few hundred nodes within a building, into a technology that could support networks of hundreds of thousands of nodes. She has also made important contributions in network security, including robustness despite malicious trusted participants, assured delete, key management for data at rest encryption, and DDOS defense.

She is currently a Fellow at Dell EMC, and has taught as adjunct faculty at MIT, Harvard, and University of Washington.  She wrote the textbook “Interconnections”, and co-wrote the textbook “Network Security”.  She holds over 100 issued patents. She has received numerous awards including induction into the Inventor Hall of Fame, lifetime achievement awards from ACM’s SIGCOMM and Usenix, election to National Academy of Engineering, induction into the Internet Hall of Fame, and an honorary doctorate from KTH. She has a PhD in Computer Science from MIT.

22 April 2019

Margo SeltzerSpeaker: Margo Seltzer, Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science, Harvard University
Title: TBA
Host School: Duke
Location: LSRC D106
Host: Cynthia Rudin (cynthia at


An abstract will be shared closer to the date of the lecture.


Margo Seltzer is a Canada 150 Research Chair and Cheriton Family Chair in Computer Systems at the University of British Columbia. Her research interests are in systems, construed quite broadly: systems for capturing and accessing provenance, file systems, databases, transaction processing systems, storage and analysis of graph-structured data, new architectures for parallelizing execution, and systems that apply technology to problems in healthcare.

She is the author of several widely-used software packages including database and transaction libraries and the 4.4BSD log-structured file system.  Dr. Seltzer was a founder and CTO of Sleepycat Software, the makers of Berkeley DB, and is now an Architect at Oracle Corporation. She serves on the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Academies and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Information Science and Technology (ISAT) study group. She also served on the Computing Research Association Board of  Directors, the CRA Computing Community Consortium, and was President of the USENIX Association. She is a Sloan Foundation Fellow in Computer Science, an ACM Fellow, a Bunting Fellow, and was the recipient of the 1996 Radcliffe Junior Faculty Fellowship.  She is recognized as an outstanding teacher and mentor, having received the Phi Beta Kappa teaching award in 1996, the Abrahmson Teaching Award in 1999, and the Capers and Marion McDonald Award for Excellence in Mentoring and Advising in 2010.

Dr. Seltzer received an A.B. degree in Applied Mathematics from Harvard/Radcliffe College in 1983 and a Ph. D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992.