Here is the preamble of my HdR, which I will defend on April the 7th 2015 at Rennes.
I defended my PhD thesis ten years ago. At that time, my research
domains included peer-to-peer systems, mobile ad-hoc networks and
large-scale virtual worlds. Today, these topics hardly get any
attention from the academic world. Although most papers published in
the early 2000s advocated that centralized systems would never scale,
today's most popular services, which are used by billions of users,
rely on a centralized architecture powered by data-centers. In the
meantime, the open virtual worlds based on 3D graphical representation
(e.g. Second Life) fell short of users while social networks based on
static text-based web pages (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) have exploded.
I do not want to blame myself for having worked in areas that have not
proved to be as critical as they were supposed to be. Instead, I would
like to emphasize that I work in an ever-changing area, which is
highly sensitive to the development of new technologies (e.g. big data
middleware), of new hardware (e.g. smartphone), and of new social
trends (e.g. user-generated content).
I envy the scientists who are able to precisely describe a multi-year
research plan, and to stick to it. I am not one of them. But I am not
ashamed to admit that my research activity is mostly driven by
short-term intuition and opportunities and that the process of
academic funding directly impacts my work. Indeed, despite all of the
above, I have built a research work, which I retrospectively find
consistent. And more importantly, I have been relatively successful in
advising PhD students and managing post-docs, all of them having
become better scientists to some extents.
In very short, I have developed during the past ten years a more solid
expertise in (i) theoretical aspects of optimization algorithms, (ii)
multimedia streaming, and (iii) Internet architecture. I have applied
these triple expertise to a specific set of applications: massive
multimedia interactive services. I provide in this manuscript an
overview of the activities that have been developed under my lead
since 2006. It is a subset of selected studies, which are in my
opinion the most representative of my core activity.
I hope you will have as much fun reading this document as I had