Ted Anderson's Home Page

About Me

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. top

Interests

Distributed File Systems as Complex Adaptive Systems

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.

Books:

Other References:

Mailing list:

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. top

Cryptography

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.

Books:

His company Counterpane Systems is sure to do a better job at maintaining crypto links and papers than I will. top

Nanotechnology

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.

Books:

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.

Extropy and Transhumanism

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.

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Space Development

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.

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Miscellaneous

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:
tree ProcessTree NetworkTM     For-pay Internet distributed processing.

Very miscellaneous links of interest.

  1. Much of the work I did at Livermore (LLNL) between 1979 and 1988 involved implementation of the Amber OS, which is documented in Charles Frankston's thesis.
  2. Random stuff not on my home page.
  3. DEC SRC Technical Reports top level.
  4. Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
  5. An old paper from 1992 by Jim Bowery on a Net Asset Tax makes interesting reading.
  6. The Chicago Board of Trade is now online. Especially interesting are the Catastrophy Insurance Options.
  7. Some pithy comments on the politics of [software] architecture from Bruce F. Webster's book on the Pitfalls of Object-Oriented Development.
  8. A copy of the MojoNation Technical Overview, which appears to be gone from the net.

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Quotes

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

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Places of Interest

Chapel Hill, NC or another view.

Some links about Galileo Galilei.

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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

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