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 and ICMP specifications) were published. I received my PhD degree in computer science from MIT and then 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, 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. My research at UCLA started with Adaptive Web Caching (AWC), the design of a global scale web caching system, 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 to join the 6Bone and implemented the first IPv6 multicast routing protocol, as well as porting vat and sdr to IPv6.

From 1998 to 2010 much of my group's research focus was on the 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 developed several useful tools that got widely used by the Internet research and operational communities, among them are Internet Topology Collection, Cyclops, and SecSpider; a few other pieces such as Link Rank and EyeP (an IPv4 address allocation+usage visualization tool) lost their maintenance over time.

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 surprise, the word was quickly picked up by the community and it is now used everywhere. I consider myself truly fortunate to join Internet research early on. When the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) celebrated its 20th anniversary back in 2006, I was interviewed by the IETF Journal as one of the 21 attendees of the first IETF meeting held in January 1986.

My career goal is to help the Internet grow. Since 2010 I have been leading a multi-campus research project on the development of a new Internet architecture called Named Data Networking (NDN) funded by NSF. We will be celebrating NDN project's 5th anniversary in September (2015). Although NDN has attracted a fair amount of media attention (e.g. 1, 2, 3), it is only at the end of its beginning. I hope to see NDN become more visible on the horizon in next 10 years.

Here is a list of various positions I have held, and here is a list of my honors and awards. The November/December 2009 Issue of the MIT News magazine also wrote a short article about me.