Friday, March 7, 2014

Saamer Akhshabi

We lost one of our PhD students, Saamer Akhshabi passed away early Thursday morning, a very sad time for the School of Computer Science.

I'd like to remember Saamer for his research. He is probably best known for the SIGCOMM paper he wrote with this advisor, Constantine Dovrolis, The evolution of layered protocol stacks leads to an hourglass-shaped architecture. One can view the Internet communication on several layers from the applications to the physical. There seem to be very few protocols at the middle (transport/network) layers. Saamer and Constantine create a model that implies such an "hourglass shape" is not just due to the particular develop of the current Internet but inherent to any way such a network might have developed. This work is quite thought-provoking and while not everyone agrees with the model or the conclusions, this paper has had quite an influence in the debate as to whether a "clean-slate" network would actually avoid many of the issues we have in the current Internet.

More recently, Saamer was working with Georgia Tech biology professor Soonjin Yi to see if similar hourglass designs are inherent in biological networks as well. Saamer also worked on adaptive video streaming.

In Saamer we lost both a great researcher and a valued member of the SCS community. He will always be in our minds and our hearts.

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