Tami's Telcordia Years

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

I joined Telcordia Applied Research in 1992 when it was still Bellcore and was home to a truly amazing group of mathematicians and computer scientists.  Bellcore was created at the breakup of the Bell System in 1984, to provide research and development to the Baby Bells.  The Baby Bells shared ownership of Bellcore until 1997 when they sold it to SAIC (and later changed its name as a condition of the sale.)   In 2004, it was sold again to private "investors".   During this time Telcordia, and the telecom industry more broadly, went through a tremendous boom and a painful bust.

What follows is a stream of consciousness overview of some favorite things from my Telcordia years, where qualifying as a favorite implies neither recency nor relevance!

While at Telcordia, I developed what can only be described as an inordinate fondness for access networks.  I worked on design optimization problems for all sorts of "broadband" access networks, especially DSL, FTTx, and cable. The nice thing about access networks is that they can often be modeled as trees, which makes them much easier to think about.  Here are a few things related to this work:

“Telecommunications Access Network Design” in Handbook of Optimization in Telecommunications, M. Resende and P. Pardalos (eds.), Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2006.

“Node placement and sizing for copper broadband access networks”, Annals of Operations Research,106, 199-228, 2001.

"A simple approximation algorithm for two problems in circuit design," IEEE Transactions on Computers, 47, 1310-1312, 1998.

I was part of the NIST-funded Photonic Computer-Aided Design (PCAD) project team, developing computational tools and techniques for designing systems with photonic elements.  My work mostly involved developing algorithms for routing and locating regenerating equipment in "transparent" optical networks.  These networks have the ability to switch traffic optically, at the possible cost of increased signal impairment.  These impairments grow with both the distance and the number of switching nodes traversed, but they can be repaired by performing optical-electrical-optical (OEO) regeneration.  OEO regeneration consumes expensive resources, so our work explored sparse placement of OEO resources in the network and efficient (selective) use of those resources.  We developed location methods based on dominating set ideas and constrained shortest path routing methods for effective use of regeneration.                              

           Maximizing the Transparency Advantage in Optical Networks in Proceedings of the 2003 Optical Fiber Communication Conference.

I was on the winning team in the 2005 Applied Research Holiday Talent Show.  I achieved this honor by writing a mediocre song parody and then insinuating myself onto the proven winning team of Murray, Martin & John. I managed to do the same thing in 2006, demonstrating the true nature of my talent: persistence in the face of lack of talent. (This, incidentally, is the only thing in my career so far to have impressed my son.)

By joining Bellcore and then ultimately leaving, I qualified for the Bellcore alumni page.

I have a (mostly untapped) interest in exploiting new communication technologies and applying mathematical models and algorithms for emergency planning & response.  Shortly before leaving Telcordia, I was involved in the Red Cell project, that envisions cellular telephone networks as the means to enable geographically targeted alerting capabilities.