Student Spotlight

Network Coding and Reliable Communications Group: Ulric J. Ferner

Ulric Ferner

Hometown, Country:
Auckland, New Zealand

Academic history prior to coming to MIT:
Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical & Electronic) and Certificate in Arts (Philosophy), both from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, and an S.M. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT.

What brought you to MIT?
The people!  I love the intense MIT atmosphere.

What problem are you trying to solve with your current research and what are some possible applications?
The worldwide carbon footprint of data centers is approaching the carbon footprint of countries like Argentina and the Netherlands.  I am looking at ways to reduce data center energy consumption using software techniques.  My particular thesis topic is on using network coding-inspired algorithms to make data centers more energy efficient. These techniques have pretty broad applications in modern computer networking.

What interests you most about your research?
The areas of sustainability and energy efficient technologies may have huge impact on both IT development and policy in the coming decades. Working on these issues with rigorous information-theoretic tools I find both fascinating and inspiring.