Researchers propose new rules for Internet fairness

Researchers propose new rules for Internet fairness

Just weeks after a team of Carnegie Mellon researchers demonstrated that Google’s new congestion control algorithm (CCA) gives an unfair advantage to its own traffic, the same team has proposed new guidelines for how future algorithms should be developed.

“Our work shows that it is not always the case that new CCAs will be fair to the old ones,” said Justine Sherry, an assistant professor in CMU’s Computer Science Department (CSD) and a co-author of the proposal. “Google is not the only company deploying new algorithms. Moving forward, we need guidelines.”

Those guidelines, offered in their study, “Beyond Jain’s Fairness Index: Setting the Bar for the Deployment of Congestion Control Algorithms,” were presented last week at the 18th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-2019) in Princeton, New Jersey.

Despite the team’s focus on internet fairness, their proposed guidelines don’t focus on fairness itself. That’s because perfect fairness, the authors argue, is actually difficult to achieve and few (if any) existing CCAs today are perfectly fair.

“We need to stop making excuses for why our new algorithms are not meeting an unrealistic goal,” said Ranysha Ware, a CSD Ph.D. student and lead author on the study.

So instead of focusing on developing CCAs that are fair, Ware and her co-authors say that developers need to ensure that new CCAs would not inflict harm on the existing ecosystem of CCAs. Put simply: if a new CCA is more unfair than existing CCAs, it is not okay to deploy.

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Source: “CMU Researchers propose new rules for Internet fairness”, Daniel Tkacik, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Computer Science