Alex C. Snoeren Named ACM Fellow

Dec 17, 2018
AlexSnoeren.jpg
Alex C. Snoeren

Alex C. Snoeren, a professor of computer science and engineering, has been named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), the world’s largest association of computing professionals. Snoeren is being honored for his innovative approaches to measuring, managing and detecting network traffic and is one of only 56 Fellows named in 2018.

Long before cloud computing services, such as Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure, became omnipresent, Snoeren said he and his colleagues “considered how to limit the amount of traffic a particular customer or service might use in a cloud environment, where there are many different links or paths that their traffic could traverse.”

“Traditionally, limits were imposed by running all the traffic through a single device that would ‘see’ everything, but that could result in significant delays,” he explained. “Instead, we devised a method called distributed rate limiting (DRL) that provided the illusion of a single shared link, but did not require the traffic to traverse the same physical links.”Snoeren and his graduate students are now working on new ways to connect the hundreds of thousands of computers in massive data centers, using optical circuit switches, and are creating a prototype using motors and spinning platters repurposed from commercial hard drives.

“Optical circuit switches have long been known to be a much more cost-effective way to connect hosts at high speeds, but so far nobody has figured out a way to do so while allowing servers to respond to client requests before users get impatient,” said Snoeren. “We are developing a new kind of optical circuit switch that can deliver both the massive amounts of bandwidth required by mega data centers while meeting the stringent timeliness requirements of today’s services and applications.”

“I’ve also spent a fair amount of time thinking about how to make the network robust to attack,” said Snoeren. “Back when we were graduate students, I and my CSE colleague Stefan Savage each invented an entirely different way to determine the source of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that were plaguing the Internet at the turn of the millennia.”

Snoeren joined the CSE faculty in 2003 and is a member of UCSD’s Systems and Networking Research Group, the Center for Networked Systems and the Center for Evidence-Based Security Research. He received a Ph.D. in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2003, an M.S. in computer science in 1997 and a B.S. in computer science (1996) and applied mathematics (1997) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. For Snoeren, being named an ACM fellow is the culmination of a lot of hard work and an honor he is happy to share with many of his UC San Diego co-workers.

“Many of my CSE faculty colleagues are ACM Fellows themselves, so it is a career milestone I’ve looked up to for a long time,” said Snoeren. “I’m deeply honored to see my name alongside theirs and all the other Fellows selected this year, many of which are good friends so I’m looking forward to celebrating with them at the ceremony next June.”

For more on Snoeren’s work, visit http://cseweb.ucsd.edu/~snoeren/.