Title: Senior Researcher
Division: Network Services
Areas of Responsibility: Network services architecture and planning, NET+ connectivity, network analytics (measurement & monitoring), and network design. Also assists with research support (interesting performance troubleshooting, data requests) and presents and otherwise contributes to perfSONAR and Operating Innovative Network workshops
Years in Advanced Technology: 27
Best Known For: Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IP Performance Metrics Working Group chair, developed metrics now used widely in perfSONAR
Matt Zekauskas is a senior engineer and architect with the Architecture and Planning team at Internet2. He has 27 years of experience working on computer networks and distributed systems. His last 15 years have been focused on cutting-edge network architectures, Internet measurement, and the application of those measurements to advanced application development. He was part of the team that contributed to the current Internet2 Network architecture and evaluated various designs and vendor options. He currently leads the integration of NET+ connections to the Internet2 Network, and has been a major contributor to the design of the Internet2 Observatory and work in end-to-end performance. Matt has facilitated collaborative efforts by chairing multiple working groups (IETF IP Performance Metrics Working Group, IETF Packet-Layer Path MTU Discovery Working group, and Internet2 Measurement Working Group) and through his involvement in key initiatives, including the End-to-End Performance initiative. His work has included coordination of measurement activities and presentation of talks and tutorials at various national and international conferences.
Matt participated in the One Lap of America with his brother for 13 consecutive years. One Lap does time trials at ~9 racetracks and drag strips around the country over the course of 7 days, and the venues vary every year. No support vehicles are allowed and you have to drive what you race between venues—anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 miles over the week. This is only for fun (and perhaps fame); no cash prizes.
How did you get involved in the field of advanced networking/technology?
Babysitting for an IBM mathematician as a youngster, I got involved with programming at his terminal at home (using a programming language called APL with the terminal—one of the old Selectric typeball terminals—connected to an IBM mainframe) and also building early computers at home. That led to being an explorer at IBM research during high school, and computer science as a field. A summer internship there led to wanting to understand communication better, hence the focus on computer networking. My job was to update fonts for another famous mathematician there for use on an experimental phototypesetter. I had to dump the font to a mag tape, and run it over to the phototypesetter in order to actually test my changes. This sounds a lot like the sneakernet used for recent data-intensive science. There had to be a better way!
What is the most common technical issue you deal with and how has Internet2 worked to solve it?
Large computer network connections do not automatically lead to higher performance. Internet2, through its metrics and perfSONAR work, has led in developing ways to better (leading to in many cases automatically) detect network problems, network-related host tuning, and pointing out when more work needs to be done with the applications to take advantage of the larger connections.
What is your favorite part of being a Senior Researcher?
My favorite part of working at Internet2 in Network Services is that I get to work with cutting-edge hardware and architectures along with network and science domain researchers. It is exciting to have a physical wide-area platform to prove new technology that enables our members to solve larger problems.