With the constant traffic on the information superhighway, every click of the mouse or tap on the iPhone results in slower Internet speed. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin hope to pick up the pace, while making the Internet safer for all.
Computer science professors at UW are keeping this goal in mind while working on a research project that should make using the Internet easier and safer for all.
The National Science Foundation, as part of its Future Internet Architecture program, awarded a $7.1 million grant to devise a new way to host Internet websites, said UW professor Aditya Akella.
The research project, known as the eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA), will be worked on at UW in conjunction with professors at Boston University and Carnegie Mellon University.
The NSF will fund four projects this year aiming to revamp the Internet, with the XIA research focused on changing “the way website servers operate,” Akella said.
As of now, while browsing a webpage such as YouTube each clicked link downloads data Division of Information Technology spokesperson Brian Rust said.
While accessing someone’s posted video, the information is streamed from the main YouTube server. That is, a primary YouTube server powers the webpage for each uploaded clip.
While the YouTube corporation has the ability to keep all these pages running smoothly; most host-based Internet architectures, such as UW’s My Webspace, will not be able to keep up with the amount of computers and mobile devices trying to get online in the future, Rust said.
That is where the XIA project comes in. Utilizing the funding, the team of ten professors at UW, Boston University, and Carnegie Mellon University will find an alternative to hosting websites without having to rely on one primary server.
The XIA project will result in a faster and safer web browsing experience, said Akella.
“Users will not all be downloading information from the same web host,” he said.
This also means, if a main server is down users will still be able to access the information they are searching for on a webpage.
Akella said XIA will also keep personal information more secure.
With recent phishing scams through uncovering a student’s Net ID and passwords, Akella said the bulk of the research will focus on creating a search engine to separate good websites from bad ones.
“Today, there is no way to decipher if the content asking for your information came from a legitimate website,” Akella said. “This program will be able to understand if the content is safe or not.”
However, this could pose a problem for users of this service.
“If you would be doing a Google search, and a website that could be of use is blocked,” Rust said. “There is always the chance that accidently or unintentionally, things can be filtered out that the program deems as simply not useful.”
This concern aside, the XIA research will make creating applications and introducing new web page models to the Internet easier, Akella said.