Faculty Profile: Hyong Kim

Hyong KimWe recently caught up with Professor Hyong S. Kim, a member of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering faculty at Carnegie Mellon and also an associate of the Carnegie Mellon|Portugal program. He spoke with us about his teaching responsibilities, his research interests, and the different ways that he interacts with our program and its students.

Some background: Kim holds the first Drew D. Perkins Professorship for Advanced Networking and Communications. He holds Ph.D. and MASc degrees, both in Electrical Engineering, from the University of Toronto, and a BEng with honors, also in Electrical Engineering, from McGill University. He has been on Carnegie Mellon’s faculty since 1990. His primary areas of research interest are advanced switching architectures, fault-tolerant, reliable, and secure network architectures, and network security systems. Kim’s pioneering work on switch architectures has influenced many switching system designs in the telecom industry. His Tera ATM switch architecture developed at Carnegie Mellon has been licensed for commercialization. In 1995, Kim founded Scalable Networks, a gigabit-Ethernet switching startup, which was acquired by FORE Systems in 1996. In 2000, Kim founded AcceLight Networks, an optical switching startup, and was CEO until 2002. He was an editor for IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking from 1995-2000, and was the recipient of the NSF Young Investigator Award in 1995. He is an author of over 80 published papers and holds over 10 patents in networking technologies.

What are your regular teaching responsibilities?
I usually teach undergraduate and graduate level courses on networks. Recent courses include 18-757, Network Management and Control, which provides an understanding of the principles of broadband networks, and 18-756, Packet Switching and Computer Networks, which focuses on the fundamental concepts in computer networks with a particular focus on packet switching for computer networks and protocol design.

How did you get interested in your field of research?
I got into the area of networking research when I was in graduate school back in 1980’s. Internet and switching technology were just starting to blossom.

What are some of your current research projects?
We are working on a research program on a highly reliable, fault-tolerant, scalable, and intelligent high-speed network.

Next generation switch and network architectures: We have completed our work on a new network protocol (HBR: Hierarchical Broadcast Ring) which is based on Ethernet technology. Its results show that HBR scales to nationwide networks but at a local Ethernet cost. We continue to investigate the effect of power constraints on the switching architectures and the network protocols. The power aspect of network systems is not currently well understood, and we are working to achieve a first comprehensive study of the impact of power constraints on network architectures and hardware designs.
Network management and control system architecture: Based on our initial success of network management research on the vulnerability assessment of router configurations, we are continuing our efforts on intelligent network management and control systems. Most of the research projects in our group are geared toward the theme of network management and control. We have successfully evaluated a large ISP production network and continue to explore other production networks, including enterprise IT networks. This work has generated much interest from ISPs, large enterprise networks, and equipment manufacturers as well. Cisco has committed to provide several core-routers for our research and we expect to build out a network management and control research infrastructure in 2008.
In what ways do you interact with students—for example, do you teach at the undergraduate, graduate levels? do you advise undergraduates or graduates?
I usually teach both at the undergraduate and graduate levels, alternating between the courses. Right now, I have about 10 Ph.D. students and a few undergraduate students. Usually I am involved with undergraduate students through their CIT honors thesis research projects. Some have won undergraduate research awards sponsored by industry.

Professor Hyong S. Kim

In what ways do you work with the Carnegie Mellon|Portugal program?
I coordinate ICTI research projects in the Information Processing and Networking area. I also teach a graduate networking course to the students in Portugal via a real-time video conferencing system. This summer, I worked with four students from the MSIT and MSIN programs.

What is an interesting thing to know about you?
I am very interested in transferring research to industry. Our work becomes a lot more exciting when one actually sees the impact it has in industry and everyday life. During my leave-of-absence from Carnegie Mellon, I started two start-up companies (Scalable Networks, Inc. and AcceLight Networks, Inc.) in the area of networking and I gained some real-world experiences in network technology and business. It is quite different from what you would learn from only academic environment. It is quite important to bridge academia to industry.