Prof. Wang Receives U.S. Patent

Posted on 2017-01-11
Lan Wang

Department chair Prof. Lan Wang has been awarded a U.S. patent for her work on a new Forwarding Information Base (FIB) aggregation algorithm.

Patent No. 9491087, "Devices and Methods for Forwarding Information Base Aggregation," is shared among four inventors. In addition to Wang, they are: Beichuan Zhang of the University of Arizona; Xin Zhao, previously a graduate student under Zhang, now employed at Google; and Yaoqing Liu, a U of M graduate who studied under Wang, now employed at Clarkson University. There are two assignees for the invention: the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona has been assigned 44 percent interest; the U of M is receiving 56 percent interest.

The invention is a novel algorithm which seeks to compress the Forwarding Information Base (FIB) so that it will occupy less storage space but still allow fast and efficient updating capabilities. The new algorithm should allow for around 50 percent compression at a speed 50 percent faster than current options. The invention has the capability to be updated to current routers and installed on new ones through software update.

"The Internet relies on routers to forward its traffic," said Wang. "As the Internet grows, routers need to maintain more forwarding information. The fast growth of routers' Forwarding Information Base is a major concern for Internet service providers (ISPs) as it is costly for them to upgrade routers. Our solution, FIB aggregation, reduces the FIB size considerably by merging multiple FIB entries into one, thus extending the lifetime of routers and potentially leading to huge savings for ISPs. As a software solution that does not require any changes to routing protocols or network operations, our solution can be easily deployed in routers and ISPs."

Wang joined the U of M in fall 2004 after finishing her PhD at UCLA. She was promoted to associate professor in 2010 and to full professor in 2016. Her research focuses on improving the scalability, reliability and security of the Internet. She has received five major research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several grants from the University. Wang is on a team that received a $15.8 million grant from the NSF Future Internet Architecture program for its Named Data Networking project.

Article text provided by Mary Ann Dawson, Operations and Marketing.