Internet, heal thyself

The best way to secure the Internet is to create a self-healing network,

said Raj Reddy, co-chairman of the President's Information Technology Advisory

Committee (PITAC) and a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University.

In testimony last week before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation

Committee's Communications Subcommittee, Reddy said such a network would

catch problems as they occur.

"A self-healing network would work similar to the human immune system,"

he said. "It would constantly monitor the system, analyze what is in the

system, and if it finds something wrong within the system, immediately begin

actions to remedy the problem."

Reddy testified on how to better secure the Internet. To develop the

technology for a more dependable Internet, Reddy urged the federal government

to fund a national network test bed. The arrangement would be similar to

the partnership created by several federal agencies and universities to

develop and test the high-speed Next Generation Internet.

The concept of survivability — ensuring that services are available when

needed and that information is delivered in a timely fashion — runs through

many of the funding recommendations in PITAC's February 1999 report to the

president, "Information Technology Research: Investing in Our Future." PITAC

is reviewing federal research plans and will issue new recommendations later

this year.

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