Photo of Richard Mortier

Background

In 2001 I completed my Ph.D., Internet Traffic Engineering” with the Systems Research Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Since then I have worked as a researcher with the IP Group, Sprint ATL; the Systems & Networking Group, Microsoft Research Cambridge; and most recently I was founder at Vipadia Limited.

Outside work I practice Wudang Tai Chi Chuan, and taught for the Cambridge University Tai Chi Chuan Society for several years. I am also a keen, if woefully out-of-practice, classical guitarist.

Vipadia

I left Microsoft to become founder at Vipadia Limited, a small voice-on-IP consultancy based near Cambridge. With my co-founder I designed and implemented the company’s two main products:

  • Karaka, a scalable standards-compliant Skype-XMPP gateway
  • Clackpoint, a protocol-agnostic real-time collaboration platform bridging the Web, PSTN, Skype and Google Talk networks, enabling third-parties to build multi-party text, audio and video communications into their applications and websites

Clackpoint was written up in TechCrunch and on Google’s SocialWeb Blog. As well as the public website, Clackpoint was available as a gadget for Google’s OpenSocial and Google Wave, as a custom plugin for the HotCRP conference management system, and as a plugin for Atlassian Confluence. Two months after launch it had been installed on around 1000 websites, was serving 6000 users/day (120,000 unique/month) from over 180 countries, and handling over 600,000 minutes/month. Acquisition of both Clackpoint and Karaka by Voxeo Corp. was announced in January 2010.

I also undertook contracted development for several clients on a range of topics including integration of CTI with Microsoft Dynamics; website development in Python/Django; and telephone control of home automation systems.

Microsoft Research

I was a permanent researcher for several years at Microsoft’s Cambridge research lab. With the Systems and Networking group I worked on several projects:

  • Magpie: automated distributed system performance analysis
  • Anemone: host-based enterprise network management
  • Seaweed: massively scalable (>50k nodes) peer-to-peer databases
  • Constellation: automated model construction for network service behaviour and dependency

In addition I was responsible for organising and implementing collection of the first large-scale enterprise network trace. This comprised 2 years of OSPF routing data, and collection of around 13 billion packets over 4 weeks from Microsoft’s corporate backbone network. I also developed the F# parsing library used to process these traces.

Sprint ATL

Following my Ph.D., I spent several months with the IP Group at Sprint’s Advanced Technology Lab in California. While there I produced software to collect and analyse routing data from Sprintlink, Sprint’s tier-1 IP backbone, running live for over 3 years without problems. This code and data found many uses, notably some of the earliest published analyses of the link failure and routing loop behaviour of large IP networks. I also worked with the systems group on topics ranging from predicate routing to novel network management techniques.

Cplane Inc.

During my Ph.D. I spent several weeks as a consultant to Cplane, a California-based startup developing novel network control software. I integrated Cisco’s Virtual Switch Interface Protocol with their network control platform.