Falk Appointed to Influential Internet Chairmanship

March 25, 2005

Computer scientist Aaron Falk is the new Chair of the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF). USC Information Sciences Institute Executive Director Herb Schorr congratulated Falk, a project leader in ISI's computer networks division, on the appointment.

The IRTF is a loose confederation of researchers in academia and industry who coordinate research and exchange information on Internet research, working in research groups, under suggested rules codified in RFC 2014, co-authored by ISI Internet pioneer Jon Postel.

The groups are meant to "foster cross-organizational collaboration, help to create critical mass in important research areas, and add to the visibility and impact of the work," the guidelines direct.


<- Aaron Falk. (click image for larger view)

IRTF esearch groups are now active in ten areas, ranging from "anti-spam" to "peer-to-peer."

"A Research Group is expected to be long-lived, producing a sequence of products over time," the guidelines continue. "The products of a Research Group are research results that may be disseminated by publication in scholarly journals and conferences, as white papers for the community, as Informational RFCs, and so on. In addition, it is expected that technologies developed in a Research Group will be brought to the IETF as input to IETF Working Group(s) for possible standardization."

Per the rules, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) appointed Falk to the chairmanship. His duties include the designation in consultation with others of members of the groups steering committee, and playing a leading role in encouraging, regulating (and if necessary disbanding) existing groups, and deciding when and whether to start new ones.

He will in general "ensur[e] that Research Groups produce coherent, coordinated, architecturally consistent and timely output as a contribution to the overall evolution of the Internet architecture."

Falk has a long history of activity in Internet research, As his web biography notes, he "started and chaired the Internet Protocols over Satellite working group within the Satellite Communication Division of the Telecommunications Industry Association. This lead to a role chairing the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) working group on TCP over Satellite.

He is past chair of the IETF Performance Implications of Link Characteristics (PILC) working group and currently chairs the Datagram Congestion Control Protocol (DCCP) working group.

Prior to coming to ISI, Falk worked for TRW, and before that as a graduate student at the University of Maryland Institute for Systems Research invented and coded DirecPC, a system to deliver broadband Internet access via satellite.

His current ISI research work includes work on the new XCP Internet protocol, aimed at easing Internet congestion.