Computer Science Colloquium

Content Delivery in the Modern Internet

Stefan Saroiu
University of Washington

Friday, April 16, 2004 11:30 A.M.
Room 1302 Warren Weaver Hall
251 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012-1185

Colloquium Information:


Richard Cole, (212) 998-3119


In recent years, the Internet has experienced an astronomical increase in the use of specialized content delivery systems, such as peer-to-peer file-sharing systems (e.g., Kazaa, Gnutella, or Napster) and content delivery networks (e.g., Akamai). The sudden popularity of peer-to-peer file-sharing systems has resulted in a flurry of research activity into novel peer-to-peer system designs. Because these systems: (1) are fully distributed, without any infrastructure that can be directly measured, (2) have novel distributed designs requiring new crawling techniques, and (3) use proprietary protocols, surprisingly little is known about the performance, behavior, and workload of such systems in practice.

This talk remedies this situation. We examine content delivery from the point of view of four content delivery systems: HTTP Web traffic, the Akamai content delivery network, and Kazaa and Gnutella peer-to-peer file sharing networks. Our results (1) quantify the rapidly increasing importance of new content delivery systems, particularly peer-to-peer networks, and (2) characterize peer-to-peer systems both from an infrastructure and workload perspective. Overall, these results provide a new understanding of the behavior of the modern Internet and present a strong basis for the design of newer content delivery systems.

At the end of the talk, we present a recent characterization of a new Internet security threat: the spread of spyware. We examine four spyware programs (Gator, Cydoor, SaveNow and eZula) for which we derived signatures that can be used to detect their presence on remote computers through passive network monitoring. Using these signatures, we quantify the spread of spyware within the University of Washington. Our results show that these four programs affect approximately 5.1% of active hosts on campus.


Stefan Saroiu is expecting his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Washington in August 2004. He received an MS from the University of Washington in 2000 and a BMath from the University of Waterloo in 1999. His research interests are in systems and networking topics, specifically Internet content delivery systems, peer-to-peer systems, security, and wireless.

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