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Security and Network Engineering
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Attila de Groot

Prior education: HBO Bachelor's degree in Network Infrastructure Design
Current position: System engineer at AMS-IX

'Networking is really my thing. Big computer networks need to be build and maintained. So you need to figure out how the computers in your network can reach each other. Because of our teacher's mathematical background, he approached this subject in an mathematical and academic way, which gave me a broader perspective and deeper knowledge of the complexity of networks. I get my kicks from building the system, but even more from the actual incorporation of the system. When a system works and you can say 'hey, I built this!', that's pretty cool to me. That's why I really enjoyed Distributed Internet Applications. During this course, you try to get a grip of how different online systems work together to provide information to its users. Take Google for example. To get a list of search results, various systems have to work together. Databases, webservers, routers and loading balancers all play a role in this.'

'Both my research projects were about networking. The first one was quite theoretical, about a new protocol to define certain developments on the internet. I did that at NL Netlabs, a research company that came from NL Net, one of the first Internet Providers in Holland. The second one I did at Amsterdam Internet Exchange (AMS-IX) and was more practical. I was already interested in the possibilities to work at AMS-IX during my studies, so they suggested to do my research project there. That way I could see if it was the right kind of company and job for me. During this project, me and my project partner created a bug that could paralyze the whole AMSIX by sending just one package. That's was a lot of fun, because during our presentation the management was quite shocked by our discovery. It was a good move for us I guess, because we both got hired! '

'AMS-IX is the biggest internet hub in the world. What we basically do is facilitate an internet user to reach a certain webpage. This huge network of users, providers and web companies needs to be maintained and updated constantly. That's what we're here for. It's quite a small company of about 25 people, of which 7 engineers, but we do big things. From designing cables to actually implementing them, we do everything ourselves. Holland was actually the first country after the US that had access to the internet, so it's not that strange that the AMS-IX is located here.'