Fern Hunt is a mathematician at the National Institute of Standards and Technology -- a federal government laboratory that conducts research in information technology, biotechnology and properties of materials. Dr. Hunt's chief research interests are probability and dynamical systems and the application of these fields. Dr. Hunt has published papers in population genetics, mathematical biology, bioinformatcs and dynamical systems as well as papers resulting from collaborations with other NIST scientists.
Fern Hunt will talk about recent work on a mathematical model of TCP, a widely used internet protocol for congestion control. Since the work of Frank P. Kelly, the internet modeling community has recognized that many currently used protocols can be represented as algorithms for solving a maximization problem. The function to be maximized, called the utility function, has been identified for TCP protocols. This allows us to characterize existing protocols and to propose new ones in the framework of the analysis of an optimization algorithm. She will discuss a scheme for allocating traffic among several possible routes that join a given source and destination location in the network. This treatment permits exploration of the relationship between the stability of operation and the topology of the network.