Winners of Postel, Itojun Awards and Applied Networking Research Prize Announced

By: Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Date: March 1, 2012

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Several members of the Internet engineering community were  recognized for their outstanding technical and leadership contributions at the November 2011 IETF meeting in Taipei, Taiwan.

The 2011 Jonathan B. Postel Service Award was given to Prof. Kilnam Chon of Keio University in Japan for his efforts to advance the Internet in Asia.

Now in its 13th year, the Postel award consists of a presentation crystal and a USD 20,000 prize that goes to an individual who has made outstanding contributions in service to the data communications community. The award recognizes sustained and substantial technical contributions, service to the community, and leadership. The Postel award is named for the original RFC editor and Internet numbering authority.

Chon was honored for being a pioneer in Internet research, development, and commercialization in Asia. He was active in connecting Asia to the Internet in the early 1980s and he continues to promote its development in the region. Chon was a professor in the computer science department at the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology from 1982 to 2008 and remains a professor emeritus there.

Chon said winning the Postel award was significant from a professional standpoint because it acknowledges the importance of the Internet’s growth in developing countries. He added that winning the award was touching on a personal level because he was in the Ph.D. program at University of California, Los Angeles with Jon Postel.

Chon, who has been active in the IETF since 1991, said he would like to see more Asian engineers participate in the IETF, publish RFCs, and take on leadership roles in working groups, the IESG and the IAB.

“The Internet in Asia is in pretty good shape now, leading globally in some areas such as broadband, the mobile Internet, IPv6 and IDNs,” Chon said. “With respect to the IETF, Asia needs to work much harder to share the Internet standards development as Asia’s Internet population is reaching 50 percent of the global Internet population. When we look at the IAB, IESG, and other groups of the IETF, Asian representation is far less than what we would expect.”

Chon pointed out that Asia will continue to drive growth in Internet users over the next 10 years.

“We need to prepare for the increase of two billion Internet users in Asia,” Chon said. “Many of them are expected to access the Internet through smart phones. This is the paradigm shift on Internet access. We need to lead this paradigm shift to accommodate the new two billion Internet users as well as the current users through education, infrastructure development, and service development.”

The 2011 Itojun Service Award was presented to two network engineers at the IETF 82 meeting—Alexandre Cassen of France’s Free Telecom and Rémi Després, an independent consultant—for their outstanding contributions in furthering the deployment of IPv6.

In its third year, the Itojun Service Award recognizes individuals for their extraordinary dedication to IPv6 deployment. The award is named for Dr. Jun-ichiro “itojun” Hagino, a senior researcher at Internet Initiative Japan and IPv6 proponent who passed away in 2007 at the age of 37. Established by the friends of “itojun”, the Itojun Service Award participants receive a presentation crystal, a USD 3,000 honorarium, and a travel grant.

Cassen and Després were recognized for their design and implementation of 6rd, a protocol used to rapidly deploy IPv6. The 6rd protocol has been deployed by several Internet service providers (ISPs), including Free, France’s second-largest ISP. Free used 6rd to deploy IPv6 to its residential customers in only five weeks in 2007, and now the service provider has more than 1.5 million subscribers using IPv6 everyday.

Després, a consultant with RD-IPtech, said Free was several years ahead of most service providers in deploying IPv6. “Free has remained the provider of more than half the native IPv6 traffic seen by Google from 2008 to 2010,” he added.

Després encouraged IETF participants to deploy IPv6 as an added feature—not a replacement—for IPv4.

“IPv6 can only bring added value because absolutely everything that still depends on IPv4 to work remains operational,” Després said. “As this ubiquitous IPv6 availability progresses, more and more of the traffic makes no use of IPv4 functions, and, eventually, dismounting IPv4 gears will be possible without negative effect on users.”

Després said automatic tunneling mechanisms such as 6rd are “advantageous where IPv4-specialized devices cannot be quickly replaced by IPv6-capable ones. … From outside a 6rd provider network, no one can notice that part of your IPv6 routes across the network have traversed some tunnel.”

Cassen, who is a research and development team leader at Free, said based on his experience with 6rd, his message to other IETF participants is: “Do not be afraid of IPv6. It will make things simpler for the future.”

Last, but not least, the most recent winners of the Applied Networking Research Prize (ANRP) were honoured during the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) Open Meeting. The ANRP is aimed at recognizing the best new ideas in networking research and encouraging those researchers to interact with the IETF community.

The ANRP recognizes recently published networking research results that are relevant for Internet products and related standardization efforts. Recipients of this award receive USD 500, are invited to give a talk at the IRTF Open Meeting, and get a travel grant. ANRP grants are supported by the Internet Society in collaboration with the IRTF and are given three times per year in conjunction with the IETF’s three annual meetings.

The November 2011 recipients were Nasif Ekiz and Michio Honda. Ekiz, a Ph.D. candidate in computer and information sciences at the University of Delaware, was honored for his analysis of misbehaving TCP receivers, which was published in the April 2011 issue of ACM SIGCOMM’s Computer Communication Review. Honda, of Keio University, was recognized for his research into determining the future extensibility of TCP, which was published in the proceedings of the ACM Internet Measurement Conference, held in November 2011.

Attending the Taipei meeting “was a great experience,” Ekiz said, adding that he particularly enjoyed the technical discussions in the IETF’s transport group. “This experience will aid me in deciding what problems to look at next … I met lots of people in my research domain from industry and got their feedback regarding the research I conduct.”

Honda said attending the IETF meeting was “quite helpful” for his research, which involves recruiting volunteers, including IETF participants, to run a middlebox measurement tool. His attendance was “a good opportunity to present a snapshot of our measurement work to the volunteers and to ask them to join our experiment for improved measurements,” he said.