- Tony Thommes, you are now a final year ESIEE Paris student. Thanks for answering these questions on a controversy I remember you did a few years ago as a first year student. But before we go into that, please just mention what kind of an internship you are looking for right now?
I’ve always been very interested in digital electronics in general but in the last few years I focused intensively on VHDL design and FPGA architecture. It’s a very interesting subject which requires a deep understanding of the electronics underneath to build an optimized architecture. It’s a subtle mix between the « cold logic » of digital electronics and the never-fully-mastered physics of analogue electronics.
I’m looking for an internship where I’ll have the opportunity to work on exciting FPGA-related projects and gain experience by working in a challenging environment with talented people.
- As a first year student in 2010 you did your controversy project on net neutrality. Can you explain what net neutrality is?
It might seem obscure at first sight, but it’s actually a lot closer to our daily lives than many other controversy subjects.
Net neutrality is the principle dictating that ISPs (the company selling you internet access) cannot discriminate between data going through their network.
For example, net neutrality forbids Orange from blocking netflix.com because they would like to favour their own streaming service. It also means that an ISP can’t for example slow down Dailymotion traffic because YouTube would have paid them to do so.
From my point of view, net neutrality is essential for equal opportunity online. Without it, established and wealthy companies like Google could pay ISPs to block any competitor’s website. Damaging net neutrality is damaging the healthy competitiveness of the digital economy.
ISPs, which are generally against net neutrality, argue that these effects on competitiveness are exaggerated and that discrimination on their network is necessary to cope with the cost of transporting an ever increasing amount of data.
- Is it still a hot topic?
Absolutely! Actually it’s never been more relevant than it is today.
For example, the FCC (the agency in charge of regulating the internet in the US) is considering adopting a more flexible set of rules on net neutrality. This has led to many protests, including a « slow internet day » when major websites such as Wikipedia intentionally slowed down their traffic to illustrate what the web could be without net neutrality.
- Thanks. This may help other first year students still looking for something more original to work on than the e-cigarette.
I hope so. And there are many more interesting and original subjects to explore: voter ID laws in the US, political financing (think Bygmalion scandal), the French model of Grandes écoles, etc.
Look them up on Wikipedia!