The 25th IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP 2017)


The Time-Traveling Networking Researcher and Other Short Stories

Mostafa H. Ammar
School of Computer Science
Georgia Institute of Technology


A networking researcher, traveling forward in time from 1985 to the present, would be shocked by many things – not the least of which is the fact that people are still doing networking research some 30 years later. While some of the terminology would sound familiar, the networks themselves and what we use them for would be totally unrecognizable – yet quite impressive. For those of us who could not afford a time machine, we have observed a more gradual evolution interspersed with the occasional shocking development. This will be the highly personal story of my journey through these decades of change in the networking field. I will attempt to answer these very deep questions: What were the biggest surprises along the way? What came first: the Internet or content services? Were there any discernible evolutionary patterns? Is there anything left to do in networking? Are we having fun yet?


Mostafa Ammar is a Regents' Professor with the School of Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has been with Georgia Tech since 1985. Dr. Ammar received the S.B. and S.M. degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1978 and 1980, respectively and the Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada in 1985. Dr. Ammar's research interests are in network architectures, protocols and services. He has contributions in the areas of multicast communication and services, multimedia streaming, content distribution networks, network simulation, disruption-tolerant networks, and most recently, in mobile cloud computing and network virtualization. He has published extensively in these areas. To date, 35 PhD students have completed their degrees under his supervision; many have gone on to distinguished careers in academia and industry. Dr. Ammar has served the networking research community in multiple roles. Most notably, he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking (ToN) from 1999 to 2003, and he was the co-TPC Chair for the IEEE ICNP 1997, ACM CoNEXT 2006 and ACM SIGMETRICS 2007 conferences. He currently serves on the steering committee of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing. His awards include the IBM Faculty Partnership Award (1996), Best Paper Award at the 7th WWW conference (1998), the GT Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Advisor Award (2006), the Outstanding Service Award from the IEEE Technical Committee on Computer Communications (2010), the ACM Mobihoc Best Paper Award (2012), and the GT College of Computing Faculty Mentor Award (2015). Dr. Ammar was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2002 and Fellow of the ACM in 2003.