Shakkottai receives prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Dr. Srinivas Shakkottai, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University, recently received the prestigious Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The NSF established the CAREER program to support junior faculty within the context of their overall career development, combining in a single program the support of research and education of the highest quality and in the broadest sense. Through this program, the NSF emphasizes the importance on the early development of academic careers dedicated to stimulating the discovery process in which the excitement of research is enhanced by inspired teaching and enthusiastic learning.

Shakkottai received his CAREER award for his proposal titled “Beyond Akamai and BitTorrent: Information and Decision Dynamics in Content Distribution Networks.” He is the third faculty member in the department to receive the award this year. In his proposal Shakkottai said recent studies estimate that the major fraction of Internet bandwidth is consumed by streaming video. Excessive costs of always-available server-based content distribution networks, and a lack of service guarantees in low-cost peer-to-peer (P2P) networks have led content distributors to pursue agile hybrids of server-based and P2P systems that seek to leverage the best of both. However, core questions of coordination, incentives and economics of such combinations must be answered before their mainstream adoption can occur.

The objectives of Shakkottai’s project are three-fold. First, he will seek a systematic and principled approach to designing coordination methods in content distribution systems, which will provide core insights for systems design. Second, these methods will reveal the value of the system to participating agents, and hence yield prescriptions for ensuring economic viability. Third, he will develop basic analytical methodology that will be applicable beyond the core problem of content distribution.

Shakkottai joined the Computer Engineering group in January 2008 as an assistant professor. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2003 and 2007 respectively. He was a postdoctoral associate at Stanford University until December 2007. Shakkottai’s research interests center around communication networks, with an emphasis on the Internet. He has collaborated with several different research centers specializing in both analytical and measurement based approaches. His focus areas include information dissemination networks, pricing models and game theory, congestion control and the measurement and analysis of Internet data. He co-directs the Texas A&M-Droiders smart phone laboratory. Honors include receiving a Young Investigator award from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, as well as research awards from Google and Cisco.