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NANOG Meeting Presentation Abstract

Research Forum: In-Progress Research Designing Support for Troubleshooting Complex Network Problems
Meeting: NANOG30
Date / Time: 2004-02-09 4:20pm - 5:00pm
Room: Symphony Ballroom II - IV
Presenters: Speakers:

Barbara Mirel, Univ. of Michigan

Barbara Mirel, a visiting professor and research investigator at the University of Michigan, specializes in data visualizations and usability for complex problem solving. She has been a lead human factors engineer at Lucent Technologies and Visual Insights and the head of a national healthcare task force evaluating the safety and usability of clinical information systems. She is the author of <I>Interaction Design for Complex Problem Solving: Developing Usable and Useful Software</I> (Morgan Kaufmann, 2003).
Abstract: What tools can we create to give troubleshooters truly useful support for resolving the most complex problems more efficiently and effectively? Complex problems include, for example, inexplicable intermittent faults, runaway processes, multiple entangled faults, interactions among network elements that \"shouldn\'t be happening,\" and elusive root causes. Ultimately, our project will design a generic standalone, open source troubleshooting framework with a set of integrated technologies and workspaces for data preparation, exploratory analysis within and across subsystems, and collaboration.

At present, we are exploring the most fundamental issue preceding design - defining requirements by studying and modeling troubleshooters\' complex problem-solving for specific classes of network problems in real-world settings. We emphasize user models strongly because if they fail to aptly represent this work and its uncertainties and adaptation to dynamic conditions, tools resulting from them will be less than useful.

In this talk, we describe our findings to date in constructing these user models. To assure generalizability, we have observed several global intranet troubleshooters working on complex problems in actual work settings; interviewed high-level troubleshooters in telecommunications and the Internet about their most difficult problems; and analyzed a transcript of eight days of e-mail exchanged among 26 Internet participants as they investigated and solved a problem with an executive-level, remote conference in which video-over-IP transmission was disrupted.

We briefly will identify high-level patterns of inquiry that we have found specialists perform in common across Internet, intranet, and telecommunication networks. Then, for one type of problem, we will discuss a complex troubleshooting scenario (a composite drawn from our findings) and abstract from it top areas of support that advanced troubleshooters demonstrably need but lack - e.g., parsing and syncing up diverse data from elements across subsystems and network domains, using at once functional and structural models of the system for complex diagnosis, and comparing current and saved views of network behavior, such as correlations, trends, and patterns.

Participation of NANOG attendees is vital, and we hope you\'ll participate in our BOF Monday evening. Operators\' suggestions and critical reviews can give crucial insight into important matches we must make between users\' and tools\' ways of chunking analytical moves, strategies, and pathways for specific purposes, points in time, and circumstances. This matching makes or breaks the usefulness of a tool. Attendee comments will enrich the user models that we create and assure greater usefulness in the framework we develop.
Files: pdfBarbara Mirel Presentation(PDF)
youtubeIn-Progress Research Designing Support for Troubleshooting Complex Network Problems
Sponsors: None.

Back to NANOG30 agenda.

NANOG30 Abstracts

  • Making Sense of BGP
    Speakers:
    Tina Wong, Packet Design; Van JacobsonPacket Design; .
    Cengiz AlaettinogluPacket Design; .
  • Making Sense of BGP
    Speakers:
    Tina Wong, Packet Design; Van JacobsonPacket Design; .
    Cengiz AlaettinogluPacket Design; .
  • Making Sense of BGP
    Speakers:
    Tina Wong, Packet Design; Van JacobsonPacket Design; .
    Cengiz AlaettinogluPacket Design; .
  • Real-time Global Routing Metrics
    Speakers:
    Jim CowieRenesys Corporation; .
    Andy T. OgielskiRenesys Corporation; .
    B.J. PremoreRenesys Corporation; .
    Eric A. SmithRenesys Corporation; .
    Todd UnderwoodRenesys Corporation; .
  • Real-time Global Routing Metrics
    Speakers:
    Jim CowieRenesys Corporation; .
    Andy T. OgielskiRenesys Corporation; .
    B.J. PremoreRenesys Corporation; .
    Eric A. SmithRenesys Corporation; .
    Todd UnderwoodRenesys Corporation; .
  • Real-time Global Routing Metrics
    Speakers:
    Jim CowieRenesys Corporation; .
    Andy T. OgielskiRenesys Corporation; .
    B.J. PremoreRenesys Corporation; .
    Eric A. SmithRenesys Corporation; .
    Todd UnderwoodRenesys Corporation; .
  • Real-time Global Routing Metrics
    Speakers:
    Jim CowieRenesys Corporation; .
    Andy T. OgielskiRenesys Corporation; .
    B.J. PremoreRenesys Corporation; .
    Eric A. SmithRenesys Corporation; .
    Todd UnderwoodRenesys Corporation; .
  • Real-time Global Routing Metrics
    Speakers:
    Jim CowieRenesys Corporation; .
    Andy T. OgielskiRenesys Corporation; .
    B.J. PremoreRenesys Corporation; .
    Eric A. SmithRenesys Corporation; .
    Todd UnderwoodRenesys Corporation; .

 

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