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Nelson Minar

I used to be a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab software agents group. I am now in San Francisco working as an engineer at Google.

This page has a list of the research I've done. My old personal web pages are still over at my last home,


368 Hazelwood Ave
San Francisco, CA 94127-2112

by phone

I keep a Weblog now.
I work now at Google as a software engineer. I've worked on a variety of things there, including the Google Web APIs.
I worked with these smart guys researching how to build Internet systems, concentrating on JXTA and some web services ideas. They shut down.
Popular Power
My distributed computing company. We were building a metacomputer out of the idle resources on the Internet but ran out of money.
Hive, a TTT Toolkit
At MIT I created a distributed agent architecture for building decentralized applications out of ecologies of mobile agents. The main applications of Hive were focussed on Things That Think, small network devices that have simple computation and communication capability. Hive is a Java framework that makes it easier to build applications out of networks of these devices. It's available as free software. My longterm research goals are on this kind of paradigm for creating distributed applications.
A Survey of the NTP Network
A project I did spidering the entire Network Time Protocol network, looking at 175,000 computers to see how they know what time it is. There's a paper, some code, and lots of data.
Mobile Agents for Dynamic Multi-Hop Networks
I worked with Kwin Kramer on using mobile agents to route packets on dynamic multi-hop networks. We have several papers online as well as applet demos and screenshots of our simulator.
Web Site Crowd Visualization
I did a small course project visualizing the visitors to a web site, a short paper is published as a CHI '99 late breaking paper. My pages include a paper and a Java applet demo.
Research Statement
A short description of what I was doing for my PhD, before I bailed on it. I still like this area a lot.
dist-obj, mobility, and javares mailing lists
I help manage three online discussion lists. dist-obj is a discussion of the future of networks built from distributed object technologies. mobility is about building systems out of moving processes: mobile code, mobile agents, active networks, etc. javares is for discussing resource accounting and limitation in Java. I'm also one of the BoDO gang, we manage dist-obj and have written some columns together.
High Quality ASCII Graphics
A small project I did for a Media Lab course, improving AA-lib to produce good-looking ASCII graphics for printing.
Designing an Ecology of Distributed Agents
My master's thesis. I'm continuing work on these ideas.
Vortex Dynamics and Entropic Coulomb Forces in Ising and Potts Antiferromagnets and Ice Models
A paper resulting from my undergraduate mathematics thesis and subsequent work at The Santa Fe Institute.
A simple Perl script to tell you what queries are finding your web pages from search engines.
Kinesis Keyboard Quick Reference
I use a Kinesis keyboard, a very nice ergonomic keyboard. It has a bunch of fancy on-board features I can never remember how to use, so I wrote a quickref.
Computational Media for Mobile Agents
A paper about mobile agents and distributed computation.
Friend of a Friend Finder
Mediated social networks, a distributed agents project I helped design (no longer active, sorry).
Distributed Systems Course
A reading course (Fall 97) a few of us put together on practical distributed systems.
Graphic design in Java applets
My portfolio from the class "Principles of Visual Interface Design". Little Java applets that do neat graphic design.
Stackable computers
Tiny computers in a reconfigurable nearest neighbour network. (The final project diverged a bit from the initial proposal.)
CEU Systems Lab summer school
Web pages from a summer school course I helped teach in Budapest on complex systems modelling (July '97). Some lecture notes there.
The Virtualization of the Marketplace
A paper about virtual shopping experiences.
The Swarm Simulation System: A Toolkit for Building Multi-agent Simulations
A paper about the design of Swarm, a simulation platform. I did this work at my last position at The Santa Fe Institute
Did you realize no one can see inside of you?
Did you realize the world inside belongs to you?

Nelson Minar Created: October 6, 1996
<> Updated: May 5, 2002