IU Bloomington students conclude another Summer of Networking

Summer of Networking 2014

If, as Tom Zeller says, poorly written software will be the end of civilization, it won’t be the fault of the networking students who just completed the fourth annual Summer of Networking (SoN).

Led by Martin Swany, Steve Wallace, and Tom Zeller, SoN is an intense, interactive networking series during IU Bloomington's second summer session. Originally conceived as a 10-week internship, SoN has evolved into two for-credit courses supported by InCNTRE and the IU School of Informatics and Computing.

Beginning with a discussion of bridges, routers, and switching decisions, the lecture and research courses quickly transition to advanced networking topics like transmission control protocol latency for long distance networks, network security, tunneling, and internet protocol version six.

“It was a very intense session, with an outstanding group of students,” said Swany, associate professor of computer science. “They were active learners, and I think the course stimulated them to ask the right questions.”

Since Indiana University is a leader in supercomputing, storage, and networking—the key elements of cyberinfrastructure—Zeller thinks it's only fitting to give computer science majors access to real world experts like Steve Wallace.

“Through the SoN, students became aware of IU’s role in operating networks such as Internet2, as well as research opportunities within the department of computer science,” said Wallace, InCNTRE executive director.

Much of the research in contemporary science involves big data, so having a solid cyberinfrastructure in place is crucial. With that in mind, one of the purposes of SoN is to expose students to technical issues facing high-speed research network engineers, as well as the solutions at their disposal.

“All these topics are highly dynamic, and in these last 10 years the evolution of networking has accelerated,” Zeller said. “We’re in a period of very active innovation in networking technology—it’s very exciting.” 

Over time, SoN will become more closely integrated with IU’s operational and academic cultures, Wallace said. In addition to students earning university credits, SoN will benefit from a more rigorous approach to teaching and learning, while continuing to expose students to network operations.

“In all, it was a terrific learning experience for the students,” said Wallace.  “Through SoN, they forged new relationships with IU, such as working in the GlobalNOC and participating in sponsored research. SoN is a win-win for the students and IU.”