Supporting and Naming Mobile People

EECS Joint Colloquium Distinguished Lecture Series

Professor Mary Gray Baker
Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Departments, Stanford University

Wednesday, September 6, 2000
Hewlett Packard Auditorium, 306 Soda Hall
4:00-5:00 p.m.


People are the outsiders in the current communications revolution. Computer hosts, pager terminals, and telephones are addressable entities throughout the Internet and telephony systems. Human beings, however, still need application-specific tricks to be identified, like email addresses, telephone numbers, and ICQ IDs. The key challenge today is to find people and communicate with them personally, as opposed to communicating merely with their possibly inaccessible machines---cell phones that are turned off, or PCs on faraway desktops.

The main goal of the Mobile People and IdentiScape projects is to put the person, rather than the devices that the person uses, at the endpoints of a communication session. To this end, the Mobile People Architecture introduces the concept of "routing" communications between people, and the IdentiScape project introduces a name service that allows us to specify people in a unique, robust, and historically persistent manner across applications. This talk will further describe the challenges we face in solving these problems and the status of our potential solutions.


Mary Baker is an assistant professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at Stanford University. Her interests include operating systems, distributed systems, and mobile networking. She is now leading the development of the MosquitoNet mobile and wireless computing project and the Mobile People Architecture. Baker received a BA degree in mathematics in 1984 from the University of California at Berkeley, and MS and PhD degrees in computer science in 1988 and 1994 also from U. C. Berkeley. Baker is a recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Terman Fellowship, an NSF Faculty Career Development Award, and an Okawa Foundation grant.