Research

Current Research

His current research interests are in the further technical development to make the Internet of Things (IoT) more acceptable and deployable. One part of this is ensuring that the deployment of IPv6 proceeds more rapidly, since that protocol is a clear requirement for large IoT deployments More broadly it is focused on the differences between the fairly homogeneous nature of the Internet edge nodes compared to the widely differing IoT ones. While the Internet will continue to be used for the wide-area communication, special measures need to be taken near the periphery. The impact of these considerations on the development of the Future Internet remains a fertile avenue for research.

 

Previous Research

After working in particle beam research at CERN, at which he continued that work while at General Electric. On joining the University of London, he founded the Network Research Group (NRG) in 1967, which he led for the next 35 years. There he showed it was feasible to implement remote graphics, when connected to distant large computers. This led to the Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA) offering him the facilities to link into the US ARPANET. In spite of total initial disinterest from the British university research funding bodies, he secured the resources to set up the first international link to the US ARPANET – which remained the only international node to link in computers. The concomitant research evolved to interconnecting the US ARPANET/Internet with the concurrently emerging UK national research networks (NRENs), the development of the SATNET packet-switched satellite service and those of the communications carriers. One aspect was involvement in the protocol designs; another was the implementation of the features and the maintenance of services across the concatenated networks. Besides providing one of the first implementations of the Internet protocols and the first paper on interconnected networks, it provided the only international service between the Internet and the British NREN until 1986. This used both SATNET and the British Post Office IPSS service. This work provided the first security in the interconnection of the networks themselves. The investigation of new mechanisms, their practical implementation and their deployment in a service environment was a continuing feature of this work. This led to the UK-US interconnection service migrating to the new Internet Protocols, a year before the transition occurred in the US. Thus he established the first international node of the emerging Internet.

The UCL NRG was the only group outside the US to link computers into the ARPANET, and for several years was the only foreign one to link computers into the emerging Internet.

During the ‘80s and 90s, his interests diversified. One aspect was an emphasis on network management and security for the new networks. Another was development of applications over these networks: multimedia documents, electronic mail, directories and multimedia conferencing. Thus it was the first to show live operations between hospitals in the US, Sweden and the UK. That activity demonstrated the need to extend the facilities to provide secure conferencing. A third was a foray into Active Networking; while that activity had no immediate success, it has led since to the emergence of Software Defined Networking.

As IPv6 came to the fore in the late 90s, much of his activity moved first to ensuring that the applications would work over IPv6, and later to the exploitation of its advantages. The initial application to its use for emergency services, had a natural progression to its requirement in IoT. The current interest is in the further technical development to make the Internet of Things more acceptable and deployable.

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