Towards applications: communication with a changing network protocol

  • Brendan Juba


We finally return to our original technical motivations for studying semantic communication, outlined in Section 1.1. Specifically, we will present a first attempt at designing end-user network protocols that can adapt to “simple” modifications of the protocol used on the network without third-party intervention. In practice, the network protocols we wish to modify serve the purpose of forwarding messages from one user to another – in effect, realizing a channel across the network. Thus, our task seems like an insurmountable challenge a priori, since we stressed earlier (at the outset of Chapter 2) that this goal is not verifiable in general. Therefore, in service of the design of a protocol, we will need to first develop a verifiable goal of communication for the network’s users, and then exhibit a user protocol that achieves our goal. Perhaps surprisingly, a pair of users can arrange for a scheme that allows them to verify that they receive the correct messages after a (bounded) adversarial modification of the protocol, under the assumption that the encoding of the data under the protocol is computable in a single pass by a small-space program (and given that the modification is computed by a short program with similar restrictions). In particular, our scheme is ultimately capable of coping with networks that drop and reorder the packets.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Engineering and Applied SciencesHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL)Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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