Network Operations and Internet Security @ UChicago

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Bobble “Filter Bobble” Tool Released

We have released Bobble, a Chrome extension to help users visualize how their search results are being personalized.  The filter bubble is a concept developed by Internet activist Eli Pariser to describe a phenomenon where websites use algorithms to predict what information a user may like to see based on the user’s location, search history, etc. As a result, a website may only show information which agrees with the user’s viewpoints. One such example is Google’s personalized search results. To “pop” the bubbles created by Google search (also called de-personalization), we have developed Bobble, a Chrome extension that uses hundreds of nodes to distribute a user’s Google search queries worldwide each time the user performs a Google search.

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Transit Portal at GENI Engineering Conference

Professor Nick Feamster gave several live demonstrations of a home network managed remotely from a custom OpenFlow “in the cloud”, at both the 12th GENI Engineering Conference and at the Open Network Summit.  The live demonstration showed how a user could use software defined networking to set per-device usage caps in the home network through an intuitive Web interface.

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Srikanth Sundaresan Presents BISmark at SIGCOMM, CAIDA, Internet2

Srikanth presented the first large-scale study of broadband Internet performance at SIGCOMM 2011.  The work was a collaboration with the SamKnows/FCC team and included many important findings, such as the contribution of interleaving and forward error correction to last-mile latency, and the role of customer-premises equipment (e.g., DSL modems) in introducing extremely high latency under load.

He also presented the BISmark platform at NANOG 53 in Philadelphia and the Internet2 Fall 2011 Meeting in Raleigh. The talks focused on the measurement capabilities of the platform and have led to increased deployments and follow up discussions with service providers to enhance BISmark’s measurement infrastructure.


In February 2012, Srikanth presented a talk on Web performance bottlenecks and how to alleviate them at the CAIDA AIMS-4 workshop in San Diego. The talk presented analysis showing how the last mile is a significant source of latency and throughput bottleneck and their effect on Web page load times, and how simple techniques such as DNS, TCP connection, and content caching in the home router can significantly improve performance.

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Valas Valancius Presents Tiered Pricing Paper at SIGCOMM

Valas Valancius presented a paper on tiered pricing strategies for the Internet transit market at SIGCOMM 2011.  The paper used traffic demand data from three different ISPs to analyze how ISP profit varied when ISPs sell service according to different “tiers”, as opposed to having a single flat-rate pricing system for all traffic.  The paper found that ISPs can capture near-optimal profits by differentiating pricing for Internet traffic into just a few tiers.

Read more about the results in the popular media: