Computer Systems Laboratory Colloquium

4:15PM, Wednesday, Feb 13, 2002
NEC Auditorium, Gates Computer Science Building B03

CNN.COM -- Facing a World Crisis

William LeFebvre
CNN Internet Technologies
About the talk:

The unexpected and unprecedented demand for news generated by the events of September 11 quickly drovealmost every news web site into the ground, including In the span of 15 minutes the demand for our site increased by an order of magnitude. With only 85% availability, we still served over 132 million pages on that day, nearly equalling our site's all-time high. On September 12, we shattered any previous site records with 304 million page views. This talk will tell the story of and the team that worked so hard to meet the unbelievable user demand. One of the biggest challenges faced by the team was induced by cascading failures, so that increasing capacity alone was not sufficient to resurrect the site. The talk will conclude with a discussion about the relevance of this experience to anyone who runs a Web site.

Why this talk is important

About the speaker:

Author, programmer, teacher, and systems administration expert, William has been using Unix and Internet technologies since 1983. He has written many articles on Unix, networking and systems administration issues in the monthly Unix Review column Daemons & Dragons.

William has taught tutorials since 1989 for such organizations as Usenix, the Sun User Group (SUG), MIS Training Institute, IT Forum, and Great Circle Associates. He has contributed to several widely used Unix packages, including Wietse Venema's logdaemon package. He is also the primary programmer for the popular Unix utility top.

William is currently a technology fellow at CNN Internet Technologies in Atlanta, Georgia. In this role he explores the applicability of new technology to one of the busiest web farms on the Internet.

William received his bachelor's degree in 1983 and his master of science degree in 1988, both from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Contact information:

William LeFebvre
1 CNN Center, Box 105583
Floor 8SW
Atlanta, GA 30348-5583


Special thanks to Professor Armando Fox for helping to arrange this talk.