Women in Computing group taps Princeton routing, SDN researcher as Athena Lecturer

Princeton engineering prof, computer science chair Jennifer Rexford honored

Jennifer Rexford, a professor of engineering and Computer Science Department chair at Princeton University, has been named the 2016-17 Athena Lecturer by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Council on Women in Computing in honor of her contributions to computer science.

The Princeton and University of Michigan grad was recognized for her work in improving Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) and for contributions that have paved the way for software-defined networks (SDNs). Before joining Princeton’s faculty, Rexford worked for AT&T Labs on Internet measurements and traffic engineering.

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Technically, the Athena Lecturer citation for Rexford reads: “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.

(Check out Rexford giving the lowdown on BGP in the video below and read more about her views on BGP and beyond in this ACM interview from March, 2016.)

In being named the Athena Lecturer, named after the Greek goddess of wisdom, Rexford will be invited to present a talk at an ACM event. She also gets a Google-funded $25,000 honorarium.

“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, in a statement. “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 security.”

Rexford is the author of more than 170 publications, including co-authoring the book Web Protocols and Practice: HTTP/1.1, and holds 12 US patents. She says she has a personal interest in Internet policy issues as well.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed until now: She also received the 2004 ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award, given annually to an outstanding young computing professional.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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