October 3, 2002
A team led by Associate Professor of CS and ECE Hui Zhang (left) created the End System Multicast (ESM) to transmit interactive audio and video to Internet viewers worldwide. They will use the new technology for a live Internet broadcast of the Council on Competitiveness National Symposium on Competitiveness and Security, to be held in Pittsburgh on Oct. 8-9. ESM enables live Internet streaming through a distributed coordination mechanism that permits viewers Internet-connected computers, referred to here as end systems, to self-organize into a data distribution tree structure. The tree structure continuously adapts to network dynamics, ensuring the highest bandwidth and lowest latency available for audio and video streams distribution.
A wide range of group communication applications such as audio and video conferencing, multiparty Internet games, and distance learning are emerging today, said Zhang. Efficient network support is a key requirement for the widespread deployment of these applications. Conventional wisdom says that IP is the natural protocol layer for implementing these multicast-related functions, but 10 years after its initiation, IP Multicast is still plagued with problems relating to scalability, network management, deployment, and support for things like errors, flow and congestion control. With ESM, the shifting of multicast support from routers to end systems has the potential to address most problems associated with IP Multicast.
Supported by the National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) since 1999, the group demonstrated ESM when they broadcast the August 21 Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGCOMM Conference, in Pittsburgh. More than 300 computer users around the country viewed the conference proceedings.
Headshot of Hui Zhang