Shivkumar Kalyanaraman, 28
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
At the dawn of the Internet, back when it was ARPAnet, the task of managing network traffic was pure engineering. But as the Net has exploded in size and economic importance, traffic control has come to depend on other disciplines, such as economics, graphic design, network theory and sociology. The innovators who can bring together people from these and other fields will play a big part in ensuring that the Web grows smoothly. There aren’t many people with a high degree of technical expertise and also such a wide-ranging perspective; one of them is Shivkumar Kalyanaraman, professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering at RPI. Kalyanaraman has made important contributions to research on asynchronous transfer mode, a protocol that permits high-speed network communications. But he joins the TR100 because of the breadth of his vision: In addition to traffic management and congestion control, he also studies Internet pricing, the development of online simulations for network management, and networking for multimedia. He works with network theorists, economists and programmers to study how the Net functions in real time. DARPA, the National Science Foundation and Internet companies are funding his productive collaborations to the tune of more than $2 million--an investment that will pay off handsomely if Kalyanaraman’s efforts help stave off a major Internet meltdown in the next few years.