Ted Anderson's Home Page
I work for IBM Corporation's Almaden Research Center from Chapel Hill, NC. My phone number here is 919-932-5145, however, email to <tedanderson at minspring dot com> is best.
Previously I worked at the IBM Pittsburgh Lab, formerly known as Transarc Corporation. Much of the time I've been at Transarc I have been working on Episode, the DFS Server's file system. I don't write many papers but the Winter 92 Usenix conference contained a fairly comprehensive description of Episode. I am also a co-author of an early paper on DFS, then called DEcorum
Before that I worked on AFS®, specifically the kaserver which implements the Kerberos 4 and an encyption algorithm called FCrypt. The goal of the FCrypt design was to provide a faster, smaller alternative to DES for use in the kernel. In retrospect this, was a mistake; amateur cryptographers should not design new ciphers for production systems. It is much harder to do a good job than it first appears.
Trying to maintain a weblog so that I can help return the favor that Google does me by being such a great search engine. In large part it does this using PageRank, which considers how frequently a page is a link target. But how will this work unless people create links to pages they like? So here is my contribution.
My vision is to create a system for distributing file data that uses market forces to create competition between, and evolution of, many small agents that perform the functions needed to get the data from where it is created to were it is needed. The first step is creation of a suitably modular, decentralized and distributed file system architecture, with components which are sufficiently autonomous to allow their independent development, optimization and eventually evolution. Besides providing increased performance and efficiency such a system can greatly enhance the data security available to users.
- Huberman, Bernardo A., editor, "The Ecology of Computation", North-Holland, New York, 1988, LC Call# QA76 .E26 1988, ISBN 0-44-470375-6, URL http://www.agorics.com/agoricpapers.html.
On using market forces to optimize resource utilization. All three of the papers are absolutely fantastic. I give them my highest recommendation.
- Kevin Kelly, "Out of Control: The Rise of Neo-Biological Civilization", URL http://www.hotwired.com/People/Staff/kevin/oocontrolpress.html
Brings together some very important ideas from a broad spectrum of disiplines. He reaches some interesting conclusions that will surprise almost everyone. It is one of the best books I've read in a long time.
- Michael Rothschild, "Bionomics: Economy as Ecosystem", URL http://www.bionomics.org/text/resource/biobook.html.
This book is a bit different from the others in this category but still an important one. The title pretty much says it all.
- Stuart Kauffman, "At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity", Oxford University Press, New York, 1995, LC Call# QH325.K388 1995, ISBN 0-19-509599-5.
I have been following ALife research for quite a while now, and this book manages to summarize some of the most important results of that research. In addition, Kauffman applies these ideas in interesting ways in several diverse realms. In evolutionary theory, he argues that natural selection doesn't work alone but depends crucially on natural self-organization. In economics, he uses his ideas to provide some deep understanding about why, and when, free markets work better than centrally planned ones. He claims that the same arguments suggest that Democracy, more than just a passing fad, is an application of the same principles to Politics. Read this book.
I have finally written a real review.
Kauffman has extended the ideas in this, and his other books, to suggest a possible fourth law of thermodynamics that applies to thermodynamically open systems.
- Lee Smolin, "The Life of the Cosmos", 1997, URL http://www.phys.psu.edu/SMOLIN/book
Smolin argues that the Universe is intrisically hospitable to complex systems. Very thought provoking.
- A few other thought-provoking books on the general topic of specialization and cooperation are mentioned in this email and in this review.
- Marshall Savage, "The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps", 1994.
- Susan Blackmore, "The Meme Machine", 1999.
- Robert Wright, "Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny", 2000.
- Jared Diamond, "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies", 1997.
- Norman Hardy and Eric Dean Tribble have applied some of the ideas in the Agorics Papers by Miller and Drexler [Huber88], to the communications infrastructure in "The Digital Silk Road". See also the Agorics Home Page; among other things, it contains some interesting background on auctions.
- Here is part of a little e-mail exchange on Recursive Auction Markets.
- The Foresight Exchange is implementation of Idea Futures: an on-line market in claims about science, technology, and current events. See IF stuff for more information and programs.
- FreeNet originally conceived by Ian Clark is now an open source project to implement a distributed file cache.
- MojoNation is distributed storage system that utilizes market incentives.
- BlueSky is a generic mailing list for discussing this topic without reference to a specific project, like FreeNet or MojoNation.
A Distributed File Service
An early proposal.
I've updated these ideas further in a mail message titled "The Information Silk Road".
I wrote a sort of taxonomy of distributed file system functions which may elucidate the path between here and there. In response to a message from Adam Back on the Eternity mailing list I replied with more on the benefits of dividing the file system into the namespace and a delivery system. Wei Dai responded with some thoughts on the namespace and location servers, and I followed up to a more comprehensive outline of how I see data location and namespace consistency working. Stimulated by the FreeNet ideas I wrote an updated description of my ideas for managing a distributed namespace. Expanding on the FreeNet adaptive caching network, here is a proposal for a really large scale data location and distribution system.
Please feel free to share your comments on the subject of distributed file systems as complex adaptive systems in this forum, provided courtesy of Take It Offline.
This is important because it is the third most important ingredient in the information society that is forming, after computers and networks. The consequences of this change in society is little realized by most people. However, Tim May has been instrumental in working out these consequences. His Cyphernomicon (or here) lays out many of his ideas in this area. Or see this gentler introduction to Crypto-Anarchy. These issues are discussed on the Cypherpunks mailing list. The consequences for ecomonics will arrive a bit faster than the political ones, and will probably be the fundamental driver of the change. Bob Hettinga is the tireless promoter the Geodesic Economy. Especially fun are his rants.
A big problem facing the crucial speedy deployment of crypto is government opposition.
- See CDA Protest for more on the US Government's network travesty.
- The US Gov't has abandoned prosecution of Phil Zimmermann! See here for a copy of Phil's announcement. The old Defense Fund Appeal is at Phil Zimmermann Legal Defense Fund Appeal. Here is a nice background article by Maureen Harrington.
- Bruce Schneier, "Applied Cryptography, 2nd Ed", John Wiley & Sons, 1996, URL http://www.counterpane.com/applied.html.
- His company Counterpane Systems is sure to do a better job at maintaining crypto links and papers than I will.
While the changes wrought by the information revolution will seem earth shattering, hard on its heels will be the nanotechnology revolution, which truly will be earth shattering. Nanotechnology was started by Eric Drexler. The Foresight Institute tries to track and promote its development.
- K. Eric Drexler, "Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology", URL http://www.foresight.org/EOC/index.html.
This is the book that started it all. A very readable layman's introduction. If you don't know much about nanotechnology you owe yourself this glimpse of the future.
- K. Eric Drexler, "Nanosystems: Molecular Machinery, Manufacturing, and Computation", John Wiley & Sons, Inc.: New York. 1992, URL http://www.foresight.org/NanoRev/Bookstore.html#anchor1025139
Considering all the powerful technological forces at work in our lives where are we ultimately headed? What does we even mean? The Extropians and Transhumanists consider these issues.
- Ray Kurzweil's Précis of his (upcoming as of 15-May-2001) book "The Singularity is Near".
- Extropy Institute home page.
I'm not as concerned that this is a urgent as I once did. I'm pretty sure now that the problem will take care of itself; it is inevitable.
- The International Journal of Small Satellite Engineering, a professional, refereed journal. Also the Small Satellite Home Page.
The Agorics work mentioned above relies to a great degree on paying as you go
for resources you are using. This includes file server requests, disk
storage, network bandwidth and the like. An important step towards
kick-starting ecach micro-payments may be this idea:
ProcessTree NetworkTM For-pay Internet distributed processing.
Very miscellaneous links of interest.
I do believe that where there is a choice only between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence.
-- Mahatma Gandhi, Source: Mohandas K. Gandhi, Young India, August 11, 1920, from: Fischer, Louis ed., The Essential Gandhi, 1962, pp. 156-57. Via: Lucky Green's <shamrock at netcom dot com> .sig of 31-Jan-97
What we seek is not the overthrow of the government but a situation in which it gets lost in the shuffle.
-- Duncan Frissell <frissell at panix dot com>, CP 29-Aug-96
Information is the oxygen of the modern age. It wafts across the electrified borders. Breezes of electronic beams blow through the Iron Curtain as if it were lace.
-- Ronald Reagan (speaking before the Institut de France on June 15, 1989), Source: Reuters, Via: <VitaminB at bionomics dot org> on 12-Sep-96
Chapel Hill, NC or another view.
Some links about Galileo Galilei.
This is my PGP public key. Here are the particulars:
KeyID: 5EFF0C81, UserID: Ted Anderson <tedanderson at mindspring dot com> Fingerprint: A9FF AD11 8485 A933 2FFA 814D 19D1 A52F
Refs to this page (via Alta Vista).