Get Happy! – Reducing Internet Latency

Latency is an increasingly important topic for networking researchers and Internet users alike. Whether trying to provide platforms for Web applications, high frequency stock trading, multi-player online gaming or ‘cloud’ services of any kind, latency is a critical factor in determining end-user satisfaction and the success of products in the marketplace. Data from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others indicate that latency increases for interactive Web applications result in less usage and less revenue from sales or advertising income. Consequently, latency and variation in latency are key performance metrics for services these days.

But latency reduction is not just about increasing revenues for big business. Matt Mullenweg of WordPress motivates work on latency reduction well when he says, “My theory here is when an interface is faster, you feel good. And ultimately what that comes down to is you feel in control. The [application] isn’t controlling me, I’m controlling it. Ultimately that feeling of control translates to happiness in everyone. In order to increase the happiness in the world, we all have to keep working on this.”

Latency tends to have been sacrificed in favour of headline bandwidth in the way the Internet has been built. Later this year, together with the RITE Project, Simula Research Labs and the TimeIn Project, we are sponsoring a two-day invitation-only workshop that aims to galvanise action to fix that. All layers of the stack are in scope.

More details about the workshop and how to submit a position paper are available here. Deadline for receipt of position papers is June 23.