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Internetworking devices is focus of conference

Extending the Internet to everyday devices is the focus of an MIT conference Oct. 1 that will bring together many of the original Internet architects and their current counterparts.

Imagine connecting the lights and switches in a building to the Internet. Enabling those components to "talk" to each other could reduce energy costs, improve energy efficiency, and enhance the flexibility of buildings.

Today, however, networking such everyday devices is stymied by multiple competing incompatible standards. Indeed, device networks are encountering many of the same challenges faced by the Internet as it grew, and repeating some of the same mistakes.

The Oct. 1 conference, hosted by MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), will look back at the lessons learned about scaling the Internet, and look ahead to extending the Internet from conventional computers to everyday devices.

The conference will also feature a new approach to the problem developed by CBA Director Neil Gershenfeld and colleagues from MIT and CBA's industrial partners, and described in the October issue of Scientific American. Dubbed Internet 0 (zero), "Interdevice Internetworking" through "end-to-end modulation" offers a single Internet-compatible alternative to multiple standards for wired, wireless, optical, acoustic and printed communications.

The conference will be held in the Bartos Theater of MIT's building E15, starting at 9 a.m. The agenda and background information on Internet 0 are available online at

Attendance is based on available space. To register, contact Susan Murphy-Bottari at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 22, 2004 (download PDF).

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