Advancing Knowledge Research: “Looking at hard problems and solving them”
Peter Steenkiste is a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University and is also part of the leadership team of the Carnegie Mellon|Portugal Partnership.
What is the importance of participating in this Partnership?
For me, this is an opportunity to work with universities in Portugal and in Europe. I grew up in Europe so I have lots of contacts there. The thing I enjoy most is talking with groups with different expertise. There are some great opportunities in Porto for research because of their expertise and the same is true for the University of Aveiro. The research in Europe is a lot different because the industry is structured differently and there are also diverse focus areas than in the USA. Again when I look to people in Aveiro, I know that there are some interesting matches with slightly different expertise.
Portuguese students: “The ones I worked with were good!”
You are involved in two projects…
One is Drive-In – Distributed Routing and Infotainment through Vehicular Inter-Networking. It’s looking at a very hard technical problem which is doing vehicular wireless networking. Extend wireless to the road and also developing new applications are things that have a lot of potential. We are investigating how vehicle-to-vehicle communication can improve the user experience and the overall efficiency of vehicle and road utilization.
How does it work?
We have many wireless networks and we know how that works. Typically we talk to an access point that is in a building and both points are stationary. Now, suppose you have two cars driving at 120 km an hour and each has a laptop with wireless and they have to talk to each other. This becomes a lot harder. The problems are much more challenging. The applications are also very different.
And the other project?
On the other project I have been working with the Portuguese student Victor Jesus. We are looking at internet quality of service deployment issues; how the nature of the relationship affects some of the routing decisions that can be made. So it’s really about quality of service in an internet scale. It’s a large system design.
What will be important in the future?
I think the importance of quality of service has been known for a long time. I also had a student working in this area and we developed a lot of protocols and we know how this works but no one deploys it because I think the relationship with business models is not yet understood. We have a technology but we don’t know how to put it on the market, how to make money of it and the reason is because the internet has a specific business structure. If you have traffic in the network, you will have multiple service providers that carry your traffic and they all want to get paid. So there is a very specific business structure to follow which is not consistent with the way the internet works.
Innovation: “Generating new ideas and being able to apply them and figure out which ideas are good.”