Lixia Zhang's Short Bio

Believe it or not, my first paid job was a tractor driver on a farm in northern China. Hard work, good luck, and especially great help from many great people transformed me to a graduate student at MIT in September 1981, the same month RFCs 791-793 (TCP/IP specification) were published. I received my PhD degree in computer science from MIT and joined Xerox Palo Alto Research Center as a member of research staff. My work at Xerox PARC included analysis of TCP traffic dynamics, reliable multicast protocols, and designs of Internet integrated services support; the RSVP protocol was conceived and developed during that time.

I joined the faculty of UCLA Computer Science Department in 1995/1996. My research at UCLA started with the design of a global scale web caching system, Adaptive Web Caching (AWC) funded by DARPA (joint work with Van Jacobson and Sally Floyd) and the Internet Distance Map Service funded by NSF (joint work with Paul Francis and Sugih Jamin). A direct follow-up to AWC was GRAB, "Reliable and Robust Sensor Data Collection by Gradient Broadcast" funded by DARPA. In parallel, we also did a number of initial IPv6 development projects. Our group was among the first on the 6Bone and implemented the first IPv6 multicast routing protocol, as well as porting vat and sdr to IPv6.

Since 1998 much of our focus has been on the deployed global Internet infrastructure. My students and I are currently tackling resiliency and security issues in the global routing system and Domain Name System (DNS), and the system challenges in deploying cryptographic protections in global scale open systems such as the Internet. My group has developed several useful tools that are widely used by the Internet research and operational communities, among them are Internet Topology Collection, Link Rank, Cyclops, SecSpider, and the latest addition EyeP, an IPv4 address allocation and usage visualization tool.

I coined the phrase "middlebox" in 1999, referring to the new components that were not in the original IP architecture but popped up in many places (web proxies, firewalls, NAT boxes). Much to my own surprise, the word was quickly picked up by the community and it is now used everywhere. In 2008 IEEE Network dedicated a special issue on the "Implications and Control of Middleboxes in the Internet".

I consider myself fortunate to join Internet research early on. During my 8 years of graduate school at MIT, my adviser Dr. David Clark taught me how to think architecturally. My career goal is to help the Internet grow. I am currently leading a 12-campus research project on the development of a new Internet architecture called Named Data Networking (NDN).

The December 2009 issue of MIT Technology Review wrote a short article about me. Here is a list of various positions I have held, and here is a list of my honors and awards.