12:45 PM, Thursday, March 14th, 2002
Room 104, Gates Computer Science Building

Self-Constructing P2P Networks Using the Project JXTA P2P Protocols

Bill Yeager
Chief Technologist (CTO)
Project JXTA
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

Slides: [ ppt pdf]

About the talk:

As the .com world self-destructed before our very eyes and took lots of people's stock options with it, it was not for a lack of good ideas that this technological, economical disaster took place. Rather, it was for the lack of a good delivery mechanism. The telephone is successful because we can put one of these small devices up to our ear and connect, end-to-end, to anyone else in the world who has a similar device. What's in the middle, the supporting infrastructure, does not cross one's mind when we dial, hear a ring, and then a friendly voice from across the world which says, bonjour, buenas dias, ni how, nay ho, konichi-wa ... we feel good to have reached a friend, and happily pay the $$$ per month to support whatever it is that permits this joyous experience to happen.

When one connects to the Internet from the edge, one is infrastructure dependent and infrastructure sensitive. The information is found by centralized searches linking us to web pages and this is recursive. My nextdoor neighbor's web pages are not immediately accessible to me, and the fact that my neighbor needs to be a web master to run a local webserver to make digital content immediately available on the web is an impediment to access. Yes, this is super technology that has opened the door to billions of pages of great information, but it is still embryonic. Probably close to morse-code in comparison to the telephone. And I think we heard "... --- ..." in the recent past.

What we need is disruptive technologies. Those which will enable massive, quick, self-organizing communication. We will also need invisible support to maintain the infrastructure and provide those services to keep it going. It is like our galaxy. For most of us, what is fun happens on the edge, on the planet earth, and the possibility of something similar on other planets is fantastic. This is an edge-to-edge communication. The fact that without a massive black-hole at the galaxy's center our existence might not be possible is not part of our everyday worries, but we would pay lots of $$$ to keep it running.

I believe that right now we are in the midst of a computational revolution which will introduce unexpected and disruptive technologies, which will give birth to The Internet. I think that Neighborhood Area Networks and p2p computing are a necessary part of this revolution, and that Sun's Project JXTA is one in a cast of many to make this revolution succeed.

About the speaker:

Bill has worked for Sun Microsystems since June of 1994 and on Project JXTA since December, 2000. As Chief Technologist, he has several roles in Project JXTA. As a member of Mike Clary's staff, he helps set new directions for Project JXTA; He is the owner of the JXTA security project and architects as well implements security solutions; His curent research interest is in P2P Mobile Agent Services on the Project JXTA Platform which he pursues with his collegue Rita Y. Chen. Finally, he has an overall architectural, and technical advisory position for the project.

A part from his Project JXTA reponsibilities, Bill formulated Sun's WAP strategy and has led Sun's WAP Forum team since 1999. Since he has been at Sun Bill has worked with a team of architects to architect and evangilise wireless solutions for Java and what will be MIDP next generation; Invented, architected and help implement the Sun Internet Message Servers 3.1,2 and 5, as well as the initial version of what now is the iPlanet Wireless Server.

Before coming to Sun, Bill worked at Stanford University for 20 years, and there was particularly known for having invented the multiple protocol routers that Cisco Systems licensed in 1986:


conceiving what became IMAP and writing the first UNIX IMAP servers, and writing a small serial line ftp program in 1979 that was later rewritten at Columbia University, and renamed Kermit.

Finally, prior to his nearly twenty years at Stanford, Bill worked at NASA AMES research center for 4 years for the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft programs. Here, he wrote the parts of the real-time operating system used by mission control to monitor the incoming telemetry of these spacecrafts, as well as the real time and offline imaging software.

Bill is an avid tennis player, loves wine and along with his wife Joan, has been collecting wine since the early 70's and has a real wine "cave," he is fluent in French, actually, he has traveled to France more than 20 times in the past 12 years, writes Chinese characters as a relaxing passtime, and enjoys teaching French to his grand daughter, Chloé. Chloé is 16 months old and is trilingual. And, most importantly, like the most of us, he loves having friendships with people from all over the world. Voilà! The key to world peace ...

You can reach Bill at william.yeager@sun.com.