North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Selfish routing

  • From: Mike Lloyd
  • Date: Sat Apr 26 22:55:16 2003



Stephen Sprunk wrote:
Thus spake "Mike Lloyd" <drmike@routescience.com>
Roughgarden's work generally seems to get reported on
backwards.  What's a poor journalist to do?
Learn how to present his ideas?
Perhaps I was overly diplomatic in wording the joke :-) It seems likely to me that Roughgarden encourages the misreading. But I have a hard time blaming him for that; what harm was done in this case by emphasizing the "newsworthy" spin of this result? We wouldn't be talking about his interesting work if he'd tried to get the interest of the NYT with "hey, selfish routing is almost as good as perfect routing!"

Selfish routing is the simplest and cheapest to implement, which are large
factors in evaluating the "best" dumb network.
Simpler than a God of TE in the middle of the network, but not simplest. What we have today is about the simplest, and it's not what Roughgarden means by "selfish" routing. He assumes routing which promptly responds to congestion-induced latency, and that is not automated in much of the Internet today. It's also not simple to implement correctly.

The technology is available, and a perennial question (which Sean Donelan referred to at least obliquely at the start of this thread) is whether it's better to use smarter routing decisions, to add more bandwidth, or to just leave things as they are. Since we're awash in bandwidth we can't find enough uses for, and some users remain dissatisfied, it's nice to see academic results that suggest option one is (theoretically) effective.

Mike