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Chairman Announces Challenge.gov Competition Winners

by: Jordan Usdan, Attorney and Policy Advisor

August 5, 2011

This morning FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced the winners of the agency’s latest contest on Challenge.gov, a competition for scientists and software developers to engage in innovative research and create useful apps that further the understanding of Internet connectivity and network science. A video of the Chairman’s remarks and the award presentation are available. 
 
The three winning teams were recognized at a ceremony with remarks by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski at FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C.  The winning teams also presented their apps and research to the Commission. 
 
The three winning teams are University of Michigan & Microsoft Research; School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology; and The ICSI (International Computer Science Institute) Netalyzr Project. Descriptions of the winning entries are detailed below.
 
The Open Internet Challenge sought to encourage the development of innovative and functional applications that provide users with information about the extent to which their fixed or mobile broadband Internet services are consistent with the open Internet.  The research component of the challenge sought academic papers that analyze relevant Internet openness measurements, techniques, and data.  The challenge was designed to encourage and reward the creation innovative and useful research. 
 
The challenge is posted on Challenge.gov, a new website and digital platform where entrepreneurs, innovators, and citizen solvers can compete for prizes by providing novel solutions to problems large and small.  Details of the challenge are posted. You also can view other FCC challenges.
 
Thank you to our judges:
 
Mark Allman, Senior Research Scientist, ICSI 
Mark Crovella, Professor of Computer Science, Boston University 
Peter Eckersley, Senior Staff Technologist, Electronic Frontier Foundation 
Jim Kurose, Distinguished University Professor of Computer Science, UMass Amherst 
Craig Labovitz, Chief Scientist, Arbor Networks
Jason Livingood, Executive Director, Internet Systems Engineering, Comcast 
Venkat Padmanabhan, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research India
Dina Papagiannaki, Senior Research Scientist, Intel Labs Pittsburgh 
Craig Partridge, Chief Scientist, Raytheon BBN Technologies 
K. K. Ramakrishnan, Fellow, AT&T Labs-Research
 
And congratulations to our winners:
 
Open Internet App Award Winner
People’s Choice App Award Winner
 
University of Michigan & Microsoft Research
 
MobiPerf is a lightweight and accurate mobile network measurement tool designed to collect anonymous network measurement information directly from mobile end users. It runs on Android, iOS, and Windows Mobile devices and completes within 2-3 minutes. Users are able to obtain a rich set of basic network information (e.g., the device’s IP address as seen by the server and the network type such as HSDPA), network performance information (e.g., downlink/uplink throughput), as well as a set of more advanced network properties including network policies (e.g., cellular ISPs' port blocking and NAT policies).?  MobiPerf helps identify the bottleneck network behavior for resource constrained mobile platforms as well as expose both the performance and energy impact of mobile network policies on end users.
 
Open Internet Research Award 
(co-winners)
 
School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
 
The research proposes methods that enable Internet users to detect two aspects of openness. First, an active probing method called "Differential Probing" or DiffProbe, to detect whether an access ISP is deploying delay or loss discrimination against some of its customer flows. The basic idea behind DiffProbe is to compare the delays and packet losses experienced by two flows: an application flow of interest and a probing flow. The paper describes the statistical methods that DiffProbe uses, a novel method to identify scheduling, evaluation experiments, and a few real-world tests at major access ISPs. Second, the work presents methods for active and passive detection of traffic shaping in ISPs. The active tool, ShaperProbe, enables users to detect whether their ISP is shaping traffic, and to estimate the extent of shaping. ShaperProbe is hosted as a free, open source, service on M-Lab.  The paper presents traffic shaping data from users of the tool since 2009 (from about one million runs), and showcases studies of four large ISPs. The passive tool detects and estimates application-specific traffic shaping by looking at an ongoing TCP connection on the user's machine.
 
The ICSI (International Computer Science Institute) Netalyzr Project
 
This paper presents Netalyzr, a network measurement and debugging service that evaluates the functionality provided by people's Internet connectivity. The design aims to prove both comprehensive in terms of the properties it measures and easy to employ and understand for users with little technical background. Netalyzr is structured as a signed Java applet (which users access via their Web browser) that communicates with a suite of measurement-specific servers. Traffic between the two then probes for a diverse set of network properties, including outbound port filtering, hidden in-network HTTP caches, DNS manipulations, NAT behavior, path MTU issues, IPv6 support, and access-modem buffer capacity. In addition to reporting results to the user, Netalyzr also forms the foundation for an extensive measurement of edge-network properties. To this end, along with describing Netalyzr's architecture and system implementation, it presents a detailed study of 130,000 measurement sessions that the service has recorded between June 2009 and September 2010.
 
University of Michigan & Microsoft Research team
Z. Morley Mao
Feng Qian
Paramvir Bahl 
Cheng Chen 
Junxian Huang 
Yutong Pei 
Zhiyun Qian 
Birjodh Tiwana 
Zhaoguang Wang 
Qiang Xu
Ming Zhang
 
The ICSI Netalyzr Project team
Nicholas Weaver 
Christian Kreibich 
Boris Nechaev 
Vern Paxson 
 
Georgia Institute of Technology team
Partha Kanuparthy
Constantine Dovrolis
 
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