ACM-W, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in
Computing named Jennifer Rexford of Princeton University as the
2016-2017 Athena Lecturer. Rexford was cited for innovations that
improved the efficiency of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) in routing
Internet traffic, for laying the groundwork for software-defined
networks (SDNs) and for contributions in measuring and engineering IP
networks. These contributions greatly enhanced the stability and flow of
Internet transmissions, and make data networks easier to design,
understand and manage.
The Athena Lecturer award celebrates women researchers who have made
fundamental contributions to computer science. It includes a $25,000
honorarium provided by Google Inc. “BGP is the ‘glue’ that binds the
Internet together and Jennifer’s innovations have vastly improved the
BGP’s effectiveness,” said Judith Olson, who heads the ACM-W awards
committee. “Her work played an important role as the Internet became a
worldwide phenomenon, and she continues pioneering work to address the
growing challenges presented by issues such as scalability and
Networks facilitate communications between computing devices, but to be
able to communicate, computers or applications need to use the same
communication protocols. In the field of Internet interdomain routing,
Rexford’s work has had a substantial impact on the BGP, a framework that
makes routing decisions based on paths, network policies or rule-sets
configured by a network administrator. BGP supports flexible policies
for how traffic flows through the Internet, but conflicting policies in
different networks can easily lead to instability. Rexford’s research
showed that the local economic incentives that drive operational routing
policies lead to a stable global routing system. More recently, Rexford
has designed incrementally-deployable extensions to BGP to greatly
improve both the security and the scalability of Internet routing.
Rexford also made major advances in laying the foundation for
software-defined networking (SDN). A traditional problem in data
networking has been the tight coupling of proprietary control software
with the underlying network devices, stifling innovation. In her seminal
work, “Design and Implementation of a Routing Control Platform,” Rexford
proposed a way to separate a network’s control software from its data
functions. Her framework laid the groundwork for today’s
software-defined networking. More recently, Rexford's collaborations
with programming languages researchers created powerful new abstractions
for designing new network control applications. SDN enables new degrees
of innovation within the network and has revolutionized networking
research and industry.
Rexford is the author of more than 170 publications, including
co-authoring the book Web Protocols and Practice: HTTP/1.1, Networking
Protocols, Caching, and Traffic Measurement. Rexford holds 12 US
Jennifer Rexford is the Gordon Y.S. Wu Professor of Engineering and
Chair of the Computer Science Department at Princeton University. Prior
to joining the faculty of Princeton University, Rexford was employed at
AT&T Labs, where she pioneered research on Internet measurements and
Rexford served as Chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on
Communications and Computer Networks (SIGCOMM) and co-founded the
Internet Measurement Conference and the Symposium on SDN Research (HotSDN).
A Fellow of ACM, she is a member of the National Academy of Engineering
and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Rexford
received the 2004 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award, given annually to an
outstanding young computing professional.
earned a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from
Princeton University and received Masters and Ph.D. degrees in computer
science and engineering from the University of Michigan.
The Athena Lecturer is invited to present a lecture at an ACM event.
Rexford’s Athena Lecture will be delivered at an event to be determined.
Each year, the Athena Lecturer honors a preeminent woman computer
scientist. Athena is the Greek goddess of wisdom; with her knowledge and
sense of purpose, she epitomizes the strength, determination, and
intelligence of the "Athena Lecturers." The 2016-2017 Athena Lecturer
will be formally recognized at the ACM Annual Awards Banquet, June 11,
in San Francisco, California.