Kevin Tang receives 2018 IBM Faculty Award

A. Kevin Tang, associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering has received a 2018 IBM Faculty Award for his project, "Enabling Joint Transport Layer and Network Layer Optimization for Software-Defined Networks."  

The IBM Faculty Awards is a competitive worldwide program intended to foster collaboration between researchers at leading universities worldwide and those in IBM research, development and services organizations; and promote curriculum innovation to stimulate growth in disciplines and geographies that are strategic to IBM.

Tang’s project will examine the opportunities of doing joint transport layer and network layer optimization in software-defined networks. Cross-layer optimization has long been studied abstractly as a mathematical problem from various angles. However, it has not been considered favorably from a systems point of view since it breaks the Internet layering structure and is difficult to realize among ISPs with standard hardware routers. With more enterprises operating their own wide-area-networks and an increasing usage of software routers, such cross-layer optimization is not just desirable but more importantly, also feasible.

“My group plans to start the project by designing and releasing network-aware multi-path TCP over paths with significant different RTTs to increase throughput,” said Tang. “The new ingredient here is that the transport layer would get accurate and up-to-date network statistics and therefore would be able to do things in a much smarter way than the standard TCP under the end-to-end assumption. This technology can be potentially built as a virtual network function and consumed by users as service.”

Tang joined the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Cornell in 2007 where he is now an associate professor. During the 2006-2007 academic year, he was a junior fellow with the social and information sciences laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. He received his Ph.D. from Caltech in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Applied and Computational Mathematics in 2006.

Learn more about Tang and his work at

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