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Bram Cohen's Response to Microsoft's Avalanche 443

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the stuff-to-read dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bram Cohen has reduced Microsoft's proposed file-sharing application--codenamed Avalanche--to vaporware, dubbing its paper on the subject as "complete garbage". "I'd like to clarify that Avalanche is vapourware," Cohen said. "It isn't a product which you can use or test with, it's a bunch of proposed algorithms. There isn't even a fleshed-out network protocol. The 'experiments' they've done are simulations.""
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Bram Cohen's Response to Microsoft's Avalanche

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:10AM (#12871306)
    Sounds like Windows.
    • Sounds like pretty much any Linux distribution out there too... Mac OSX too... why do you think they keep releasing new versions and updates?
      • Exactly.

        The words the original poster was seeking were surely closer to "not even close to started".

      • The awesome part is that that means BeOS is DONE. And OS2/Warp. And AmigaOS...
      • by kidlinux (2550) <duke&spacebox,net> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:30AM (#12871980) Homepage
        a) new features
        b) bug patches

        Just because they keep releasing new versions doesn't mean it's not 'finished'.

        I think most people, including the parent, who say Windows isn't finished are eluding to the fact that it's released in an unstable, insecure, and generally half-assed condition.

        If a product is released and a year later a new feature is added to that same product, does it mean the previous product went unfinished for a whole year? Not really. Why do you think they use version names? Mac OSX 10.1 is a finished product - when changes for 10.1 are released, it's under a new version number representing a newer finished product.

        Distributions of Linux, and the kernel itself, have updated releases on a much more frequent basis. But that's why there are production (or stable) and testing (or unstable) branches. The production version is a finished product.

        Arguably you could still say that all the aforementioned software is never finished, but then the same could be said for a lot of things. Car models are updated on a yearly basis - does that mean the previous year's model was not finshed? No.

        At some point a product which is periodically updated must be defined as 'finished' and separated from development leading to the next version of the finished product.

        As I mentioned, Microsoft never seems to release a 'finished' version of Windows because it's in a perpetual state of half-assedness. Or like Longhorn, the release date is constantly being pushed back and it appears as though it'll never be finished.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:20AM (#12871398)
      No, Avalanche sounds like a big snowjob.
    • by Harbinjer (260165) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:17AM (#12871870) Journal
      That's exactly the point. The paper is based on _simulations_; Bram hasn't found any good reliable simulations for bittorrent, so he has little faith in this.

      Vaporware is technically correct: you can't download and use Avalanche. But you may be able to in a year or two. Hopefully, they'll make it useable by then.

      Here's the thing, they're using a 'tit-for-tat' algorithm that was in bittorrent v1, 4 years ago. Which makes me believe that they are currently 4 years behind BT. They do have the advantage of following, so they can catch up faster than Bram's original work, but this is still just ideas.

      I must say, I too don't see the point of error correcting codes, I mean, you have to transmit them too. You're substituting data for other data. And instead of tring to calculate all of what you need, Bittorrent will save you the CPU and HD cycles and just wait and find the original, instead of trying to build it. This might work fine if you have 2 processors and 4 gigs of ram, but I'll stick with bittorrent until Avalanche is a proven product. Even then, it will probably still not be cross-platform...

      I couple years this may be better than BT(today's) in pure network speed, but then again, BT will likely be faster by then as well. Right now its just academic.
      • > "Vaporware is technically correct: you can't download and use Avalanche. But you may be able to in a year or two."

        You'll probably be saying that again two years from now. Anybody remember the debacle Microsoft had when Gates said that MS was working on a 64-bit operating system that, according to him, would be available a year after he said that? It was nearly five years before it finally happened.

        Avalanche? That's actually what Microsoft will end up buried in, only it won't be snow, it might
  • by darkmeridian (119044) <william@chuang.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:12AM (#12871317) Homepage
    I cannot believe that we still do not use the Coral Cache and Bittorrent to prevent crashing poor servers. I mean, now we're just going to end up slashdotting that first link, uh, slashdot...

    Forget it.
  • by perigee369 (837140) * <perigee369@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:13AM (#12871324)
    Sounds like it, and the first salvos have gone back and forth... having read both, I have to give the points in the first round to Bram. Microsoft won't find him so easy to push around, methinks.
    • If microsoft can make use of parity to reduce bandwidth usage then avalanche has got a good chance of being successful.
    • I was hoping that Bram would address that article claiming that BitTorrent is being used to distribute spyware [eweek.com] instead of this Avalanche crap. I think it's more important to keep people from being afraid of using BitTorrent than it is to deal with misconceptions about a program that isn't even out in beta form yet.

      --Ender
    • by GreenSwirl (710439) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:37AM (#12872031) Homepage Journal
      Yup. Bram's blog makes it clear that MS's approach to P2P is to reverse engineer an outdated version of his protocol. The result will probably be similar to MS's effort to reverse engineer the Macintosh: Windows 3.1 -- meaning that it will be buggy, slower and vastly more popular.

      Keep reading Bram's blog. How far do you get before it starts going over your head? The dude has skillz that dust 98% of the wannabes here on Slashdot.

      And as for motives, in my experience with autistics, it's common for those with Asperger's Syndrome to be quite guileless. They speak and act without consideration for other's "feelings". As a result they are more frank and honest than most people are comfortable with. Sorta like if Mr. Spock insults your work. He's not doing it to hurt you, or out of jealousy, he's saying it because it is the most logical observation.
  • Why The Rant? (Score:3, Informative)

    by CleverNickedName (644160) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:13AM (#12871327) Journal
    "It isn't a product which you can use or test with, it's a bunch of proposed algorithms. There isn't even a fleshed-out network protocol. The 'experiments' they've done are simulations."

    Doesn't all software start off this way?
    • Re:Why The Rant? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aussie_a (778472) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:23AM (#12871429) Journal
      Most software isn't spouted off as the best thing since sliced bread when it's at this stage. Then again, this IS Microsoft we're talking about (not a dig at Microsoft's coding abilities, but they're PR department).
      • Re:Why The Rant? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by snorklewacker (836663) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:14AM (#12871842)
        > Most software isn't spouted off as the best thing since sliced bread when it's at this stage

        Who's the one who spouted off? This was a paper on the MS research website, not an ad on prime-time TV. It's loudmouths like the ones ACTUALLY doing the spouting that will cause MS to just replace that page with a static placeholder and reveal NOTHING to the outside. It's already gutted, it really won't take much more to turn it into a complete facade. Thanks a lot.
    • Re:Why The Rant? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jerf (17166) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:30AM (#12871478) Journal
      Skip the article, read the blog entry [livejournal.com]. First line:
      A bunch of people have been pestering me about Avalanche recently, so I'll comment on it.
      A perfectly reasonable reason to discuss something. It isn't Bram that posted this to Slashdot.

      I think he's trying to point out to the "bunch of people" that at the moment, Microsoft isn't exactly shipping the BitTorrent killer that he's somehow "got" to respond to. He might get less dismissive if they ship something that obviously works.... or if people didn't pester him.

      (I've seen several people comment that Bram's "arrogant"; it's nothing to the arrogance of assuming they can force him to comment on something, or the arrogance of assuming that his essay was written straight for them, or the arrogance of saying since they don't like it it shouldn't have been written. This is just an addenda so I don't have to post again, not directed at CleverNickedName.)
  • Not bad! (Score:2, Funny)

    by markild (862998)
    "It isn't a product which you can use or test with, it's a bunch of proposed algorithms. There isn't even a fleshed-out network protocol. The 'experiments' they've done are simulations."

    Another interesting project from the Microsoft team then? Looks like they've made an entire department, dedicated to making ideas about things that they could make, but never intend to do.. Nice going
    • Doesn't 25% of Google staff time are allocated to discover things from new ideas?
    • Another interesting project from the Microsoft team then? Looks like they've made an entire department, dedicated to making ideas about things that they could make, but never intend to do.. Nice going

      Sort of like Google labs? [google.com]

      • Re:Not bad! (Score:3, Funny)

        by Nasarius (593729)
        Did you even look at the website you linked to? Everything there has a functioning prototype that you can play with. There's a whole fucking box called "Graduates of Lab", which shows former lab projects that you're now probably familiar with as part of Google!

        How did this get modded up?

    • Re:Not bad! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GileadGreene (539584) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:56AM (#12872185) Homepage
      No, another interesting project from the Microsoft Research team. Which is somewhat different than the rest of the MS corporation. MS Research is a set of research centers, not unlike those run by other groups in the industry (e.g. IBM). They are devoted to doing research, not creating products.

      MS research is messing with all sorts of interesting ideas. They've hired a number of gurus in computer science research (such as Tony Hoare and Leslie Lamport). They publish lots of papers. How many of these things will turn into real products? Who knows. Mostly they just want to play with ideas so that they stay at the cutting edge of things, rather than missing the boat as they did with the Internet boom.

  • SDLC (Score:5, Funny)

    by savagedome (742194) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:14AM (#12871342)
    Hi Bram, just to let you know that Microsoft Software Development Life Cycle works a 'little' different. We market it first, then release it, then develop it and then design it. And maybe, just maybe we might make it work if enough people are using it.

    Hope that helps.

    Sincerely,
    Microsoft

    PS: Note that I used maybe twice.
    • >Microsoft Software Development Life Cycle works a 'little' different. We market it first, then release it, then develop it and then design it. And maybe, just maybe we might make it work if enough people are using it.

      You forgot a bit:

      when the software is being used by lots of people, Microsoft stop any effort of improving it.

  • by -brazil- (111867) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:15AM (#12871347) Homepage
    The question is: is it GOOD vaporware? Can the proposed algorithms deliver the results we want? That Microsoft has the manpower to turn it into real software is a given.
    • by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:49AM (#12871634) Journal
      No, it's not good vapourware according to Bram Cohen. He picks several large holes in the white paper.
  • Torrent? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:15AM (#12871349)
    Does anybody have the torrent for the app?
  • Avalanche (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dink Paisy (823325) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:16AM (#12871353) Homepage
    It's not even a code name. Avalanche is an academic research product coming out of Microsoft's research organization. I guess there are not plans at Microsoft to make Avalanche into a product. If it were ever released, there is a decent chance it would be shared source, since researchers tend to like that kind of thing.

    But, yeah, like he said. Avalanche isn't supposed to take over the world. It isn't a product, and it doesn't exist in source code form.

    • I get a totally different reading from the web site and press releases.
      For me it sounds like it is something they are about to start working on and already have plans to market as a way for producers of music, video, etc to distribute the product with DRM; along with a way for companies to distribute patches, updates,etc that are signed so the user knows they are authentice ie this part came around when bittorret was being used to share windows xp SP2 and microsoft put a stop to that.

  • This really shouldn't come as any surprise...after all, Microsoft's goal here wasn't to actually come out with a product, but to create the illusion of one. Microsoft will design a P2P system if and when they're good and ready...until then, Avalanche serves as a satisfactory decoy.

    • by Uruk (4907) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:32AM (#12871495)
      Research papers that are released, even by MS, usually aren't intended to get the attention of the broader market. They're intended to put forth ideas and let a few select people know what's going on inside the heads of MS engineers. That, and to raise the ire of slashdotters who don't read them and choose to automatically assume that MS persues every single research idea as a major project.

      Look at it this way - MS can't afford not to be looking into the area of filesharing, because it's obviously something that their customers really, really want. There hasn't been any announcement of any product, there's just a whitepaper with no details. The not-so-sinister truth is that this research paper is just evidence that they are starting to think about the problem, not a representation of an imminent product offering.

      • I work at a corporate F100 R&D lab, most of what gets written up is either

        -prescriptive stuff that you'd like adopted
        -things you built that you'd like the world to know about.

        For a corporate group, a paper is only a half-success, depending on the ranking mechanism. A Popular paper is good, but not as good as getting into shipping product. And there MSR have the same problem I have -the gulf between research code and production stuff. Actually, their problem is worse, they have to go through the MS lif
  • by SkunkAh (633183) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:17AM (#12871370)
    I guess microsoft is just doing research, so they can patent their inventions. Those patents can than be used to make (other) fileswapping/p2p programs illegal due to patent infringement.
    • ...prior art - even a borderline retarded patent examiner (unfortunately the norm from some granted patnets I've come across) will have heard about p2p.
  • Who? (Score:5, Informative)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:17AM (#12871374)
    That's Bram Cohen, author of Bittorrent.
  • by sczimme (603413) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:18AM (#12871379)

    "Unfortunately, [the paper] is actually one of the better academic papers on BitTorrent, because it makes some attempt, however feeble, to do an apples to apples comparison," he said.

    Then Mr. Cohen patted Microsoft on the head, gave it a cookie, and sent it outside to play.
  • by strongmace (890237) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:20AM (#12871395)
    They are marketing their IDEA, not the actual software at this point. Sure, what they have done is research and simulations, which is obviously just one part of their software development cycle.

    Microsoft has a huge amount of resources that they can and probably will pour into the p2p projects they are working on. It is foolish to mouth off and bash their development procedure, treating it as something other than it is. Microsoft has a strong track record of eliminating its competition by integrating products into its OS. Dont be too suprised if you see Avalanche as part of Longhorn.
  • by mitchell_pgh (536538) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:24AM (#12871430)
    Microsoft, on numerous occasions, has indicated that they have a(n) [ insert competitors product ] killer... with a cool code name and features that look very appealing. We find out months/years later that their product either doesn't materialize or doesn't deliver on the original specifications. Sure the 2.0 or 3.0 version might, but my point is, they fend off competition by using vaporware.

    I'm tired of it... I'm moving back to my TRS-80
    Longhorn is just one prime example. I wonder how many people didn't consider switching over to Linux/?nix/OS X/etc. etc. because of the overly hyped features of Longhorn... which now are disappearing left and right.

    It takes years to make something like bittorrent, but it takes days for a marketing team to come up with a flashy code name and feature list.
  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:25AM (#12871440) Journal
    Microsoft might just release it as an API, without releasing an easy to use client of their own. That way they don't promote piracy, but they can reduce the bandwidth needed for software updates and assist adware producers in delivering full motion full screen ads to unsuspecting users.
  • by Crimson Dragon (809806) * on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:27AM (#12871453) Homepage
    Good. The mud has officially been slung. We are in for a hell of a fight, it seems.

    The "Avalance is vaporware" vibe is a true one, but let's give Microsoft a chance for a real-world test before we cast our lots. Not completely dismissing the paper demonstrates Cohen in a more rational and less infuriated moment, and is fortunate that he did so, as industry leaders who dismiss competition get burned all too often. This is not to defend the test model in the slightest, which is junk and atypical of typical Bittorent usage as Cohen rightly points out.

    The Avalanche paper is a start. Microsoft will need to finish, refine, and check their facts about the product with which they are competing. The idea of building a file without all the pieces reeks of difficult implementation, for example.... that's one protocol I would love to see come into reality. Bittorent will need to flex and build upon the established track record of the protocol, and innovate on top of that. Decentralized trackers were a good step.
    • let's give Microsoft a chance for a real-world test before we cast our lots.

      Let's do what we usually do: cast our lots for the best thing that is currently available. That would be bittorrent. Let's also reserve the right to change our minds if and when something better comes along. NB when it comes to downloading, "faster" is not the only measure of "better". See DRM etc.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I just took a look at the MS paper and they propose using "network coding" to eliminate block scarcity. The idea is that each node transmits out a linear combination of the blocks they've downloaded, along with the coefficients used. When enough of these are gathered, the system can be solved and the file reproduced. This actually seems useful and is not "complete garbage".
  • fwqcwq (Score:5, Informative)

    by rbarreira (836272) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:27AM (#12871458) Homepage
    Yeah, I know most of the posts here are bashing Cohen for bashing microsoft (and I was agreeing with them until I decided to RTFA - the summary is not a good one). Bram isn't randomly attacking them for having a vaporware product, he is specifically pointing out the many mistakes that they make in their paper, where they compare Bittorrent to their proposed algorithms. It seems that they made too many mistakes to make their research paper valid, so their simulations are crap... RTFA!
  • Even if Cohen is right, it is probably the worst thing he could do, bringing more attention and focus on to Microsoft's new baby instead of his own.

    Classic mistake. He has now given MS credibility in this market that they would never have gotten on their own.

  • Since there's no way that Microsoft could fast track this project, put about a thousand engineers on it, have a working beta by Christmas and have a full client downloading onto 50 million Windows XP machines from WindowsUpdate.com before good old Bram could say "What's WinAmp?"

    Yes I know, the above scenario is complete BS and all of you would keep using Bittorrent anyway. The point is that, regardless what you think about them, MS is still a very large company with a very large amount of clout and a sta
  • Summary (Score:2, Informative)

    by The New Andy (873493)
    1) The MS paper used the wrong model for the choking algorithm (it assumed tit for tat). This method isn't used because it sucks (as discovered early in the life of BitTorrent.

    2) The paper also assumed that each client would only try to connect to 4 peers. Bram says that 30-50 is more realistic.

    3) In spite of the poor comparison, the ideas might be useful.

    The actual blog entry

  • The 'experiments' they've done are simulations.
    I've been saying that about Windows. My friends won't listen.
  • It's not slashdotted (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Fr05t (69968) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:39AM (#12871549)
    RTFA! It's still there people! But if you haven't RTFA and want to spout off something please keep in mind the following: He invented Bittorrent, and his biggest problem is this "research" is based on massive misunderstandings of how Bittorrent actually works.
  • It's not MS bashing! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Limburgher (523006) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @09:39AM (#12871556) Homepage Journal
    Bram read a paper on a topic he actually knows something about, and critiqued it. It's not like he did this sight unseen and is just venting sour grapes because the big bad corporation is trying to steal his thunder. He actually judged MS's proposed software on the available merits, and found it deeply wanting. He also goes to point out a few minor strengths. Yes, all in all he relegates Avalanche to the junk heap, but he did so based on a surprisingly dispassionate evaluation.

    So, lay off! :)

  • Jeeeeeeez, chill (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom7 (102298) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:03AM (#12871736) Homepage Journal
    Jeeeez. Is someone a little defensive of his turf? (It's not even like Cohen invented the idea of peer-to-peer software delivery.)

    Microsoft Research, and many other research labs and universities, publish papers on "vaporware" every day. Only, this is not vaporware because it is not supposed to be a product--even if some news media who don't know the difference between Microsoft and Microsoft Research make that mistake, Bram and others should know better. On the other hand, research on algorithms is fundamental to the development of the next generation of products, because no amount of pure coding can make the kinds of technological leaps that are necessary. To that end, it behooves us not to bash it, or at least only to evaluate it based on what it is.
  • Its not vapourware, in fact its going be desinged to use WinFS.
  • So...he often flys off the handle with comments that normal people might not make...but then again...Theo from OpenBSD makes similar types of comments about stuff and he IS'NT Autistic so it makes me wonder....
  • Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by p3d0 (42270) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:26AM (#12871945)
    "Owner of company calls potential competitor's work 'complete garbage'. Film at 11."

    Bram may be right about Microsoft's paper, but he would have had more credibility if he had taken the high road.

    Quotes like "The lack of any concrete numbers at all shows the typical academic hand-wavy 'our asymptotic is good, we don't need to worry about reality' approach" certainly don't earn him much respect from academics in system programming research who work very hard, thankyou very much, to ensure that their results are realistic. He has turned a simple observation about the paper (they neglected certain overheads) into a bigoted rant (academics are foolish). Not cool.

    • Re:Newsflash (Score:3, Informative)

      by grcumb (781340)

      "Quotes like "The lack of any concrete numbers at all shows the typical academic hand-wavy 'our asymptotic is good, we don't need to worry about reality' approach" certainly don't earn him much respect from academics in system programming research who work very hard, thankyou very much, to ensure that their results are realistic. He has turned a simple observation about the paper (they neglected certain overheads) into a bigoted rant (academics are foolish). Not cool."

      I'd venture to suggest that he's tire

  • bad research, too (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cahiha (873942) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:28AM (#12871963)
    Actually, even as a research paper, the paper falls rather short. There has been prior work on P2P using forward error correction (FEC). FEC also means that you don't have to get every single chunk, but that you can reconstruct missing chunks from data you already have.

    The authors should have demonstrated that their approach is better than FEC-based P2P protocols, but instead, they only compared it to simple P2P protocols. So, their protocol may actually not be better than the state of the art at all, and may actually be harder to implement in practice.
    • Re:bad research, too (Score:4, Informative)

      by nonlnear (893672) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:45AM (#12872086)
      Actually, Avalanche is a FEC method. The advantage of Avalanche over other FEC methods is that the server doesn't have to do all the coding. Hence the term `network coding'.

      While the paper didn't worry too much about comparing Avalanche to other FEC methods, the comparison seems moot, as server coded FEC methods seem obviously impractical for individuals wanting to seed data from a humble PC. Reliving the seeder of the burden of coding seems an obvious enough differecne that Avalanche and other FEC methods are not nearly as apples to apples as comparing to Bittorrent. (Because Bittorrent is actually practical for Joe Celeron-user to seed right from home.)

      Implementation may end up being harder, as it will be a lot harder to combat poisoned blocks in Avalanche. I think the authors were too optimistic about this issue.

    • Re:bad research, too (Score:3, Informative)

      by PureFiction (10256)
      They did attempt demonstrate how this is superior, by distributing the error coding to the clients (network coding) so that novel bits are rapidly incorporated into subsequent blocks, and also a secret method (read: patented) to authenticate distinct blocks generated by clients, which is pretty tricky. this is a vast improvement over centrally generated FEC blocks with authenticated checksums, which is not an improvement over bittorrent.
  • by jandrese (485) * <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @10:47AM (#12872108) Homepage Journal
    Bram mentions that a malicious user would be able to poison an Avalanche based system by uploading bogus data. BitTorrent gets around this by precomputing checksums on each chunk of data and storing them in the .torrent file. Why would this approach not work for Avalanche? You would have to precompute the hashes on the FEC codes instead, but I don't see where it is fundamentally different than BitTorrent.
    • The problem is that this would defeat the only advantage of Avalanche. The point of Avalanche is the network coding: relieving the originating server of the burden of coding all the FEC blocks.

      If the originating server has to calculate the hashes, then it would have had to calculate the FEC blocks that the hashes are calculated for as well.

      Ergo, the network coding advantage is lost.

      Unless there is some way to compute hashes of the FEC blocks without actually haveing the blocks themselves, there would

  • by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @11:34AM (#12872568) Homepage

    The question is: Will it be pulled from Longhorn?

    (Yes, this is a joke, morons.)
  • research timeframe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iryll (30167) on Tuesday June 21, 2005 @12:34PM (#12873163)
    i have my doubts about some (but not all!) of the research that people undertake in the academic world of computer engineering/systems. from what i have seen, some academics will rush to publish for the sake of having a paper, even if it means cutting corners on an otherwise interesting idea or application. while i won't say that this is the norm at the very best institutions in the world, things on the whole can seem less than perfect.

    i imply nothing about the individuals in the paper that Bram attacks, since i haven't interacted with them firsthand. however, it might be interesting to note that the primary author is a grad student at Georgia Tech. according to his web page, his stint at MS research was just a ~6 month period, 2/04-6/04 & 7/04-8/04:

    http://www.cc.gatech.edu/~gantsich/biography.htm [gatech.edu]

    the call for papers for this 2005 conference set a deadline of 7/7/2004:

    http://www.ieee-infocom.org/2005/call_for_papers.h tm [ieee-infocom.org]

    this does not leave a huge block of time for one student to brush up on the research background, flesh up the practical aspects of the idea, implement (and validate?) a simulator, complete a preliminary set of data runs, and write a paper draft worthy of acceptance. let's not forget any downtime that might arise at the start of an internship (moving over the pond, getting acclimated, etc.).

    here, i assume the not unrealistic situation where the official research scientist principally serves as a primary investigator. he brews the idea, perhaps working out some more theoretical aspects of the problem, and handles all the headaches related to funding/approval/propaganda. this entrusts a good deal of the grunt work to the student. i tend to see this sort of behavior in the ivory tower, but it is entirely likely that research in industry is much more balanced!

    time should not be an excuse in any case, but it does raise an eyebrow toward the paper-happy nature of some research these days. you make the call on what you believe is reasonable concerning those flaws in methodology that Bram has so derided in his blog.

    does anyone have a clue about the timing of the media's spin on things? The Register's article from the first slashdot posting is one of the first according to Google News...

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