Jennifer Rexford

2024
IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal

Sponsored by Nokia Bel Labs

For contributions to Internet wide-area routing and software-defined networking

Jennifer Rexford is the foremost authority on the operational stability of large-scale networks. She stands as the world’s preeminent researcher in integrating the diverse intellectual and engineering pillars essential for building and evolving a highly reliable Internet. Her work on Internet operation, especially routing, is legendary. In particular, her research on the Routing Control Platform preceded the very significant development of Software Defined Networks (SDN) and paved the way for that concept to flourish. Equally important is her early research on traffic engineering that informed her work on the NetScope tool that was in daily use by AT&T network operations to steer traffic and maximize flows. Rexford broke new ground as she pursued the problem of routing for optimal flows within and between networks. Historically, the Internet community favored distributed algorithms for their robustness and scalability. What Rexford recognized is that, within the context of a single network, centralized decision making was feasible and potentially optimal. She and her collaborators developed the programming languages “Frenetic” and “Pyretic,” and the popular P4 language for SDN. In terms of network security, she and her colleagues identified BGP attacks that compromise how Internet certificate authorities validate requests for PKI certificates, demonstrated the attack ethically in the wild, and designed a defense that performs domain control validation from multiple vantage points that has since been widely adopted. Rexford’s groundbreaking contributions have played a crucial role in making the Internet more manageable, more open to innovation, and more secure.
An IEEE Fellow, Rexford is Provost, Professor of Computer Science, and Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor in Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

Media Coverage