General Information

Student: Jessica Moreira
School: Barnard College
Major: Economics
Minor: Education
E-mail: jdm2240@barnard.edu
Project: The Impact of COVID-19 on the Internet Usage

Project Goals

As the new pandemic hits the US, states started to adopt quarantine and lockdown policies and, thus, people started staying at home more. Considering this new social context in which we are living in, the Internet has been used by people more to connect with friends and family, to work and to study in a larger scale. Thus, the goals of this project is understanding how the Internet has been impacted by quarantine and lockdown policies and also infering through data analyzis how people's behaviour related to Internet usage in this period has been and changed.

Weekly Log

Week 1 (05/25-05/31):

During the first week, I focused on learning in deep more about the Federal Communication Comission's Broadband Measurement Data as this is the data set that we will be analysing. I read the last repoort that FCC released could understand how the measurments were made as well as the components of Internet that they tested. In addition to that, I studied about the fundamentals of how the Internet works and could learn about protocols, tranmission of data and etc. Besides being mentored by Dr. Henning Schulzrinne, I have also been mentored by Jan Janak, a PhD student at the Internet Real-Time Laboratory. In this first week, Jan helped me to learn about the fundamentals of the Internet by explaining some topics to me and answering questions that I had.

In addition to that, I attended the introductory events of DIMACS and Barnard Computer Science Summer Research, and also worked on my initial DIMACS presentation scheduled for next Tuesday. I also met with Jan Janak on Monday, Wednesday (Dr. Schulzrinee was also on the call) and Friday so we could discuss the project and talk about the progress of the project.

Week 2 (06/01-06/07):

During the second week of research, my main goal was to test possible platforms that I can use throughout the summer to analyze data. In this way, I started testing Datalab - an application on Google Cloud - in which it is possible to analyze and vizualize data through Jupiter notebooks. In this way, I uploaded the FCC's data for March and started graphing it so I could start analyzing how the quarantine has impacted the usage of Intern. However, as while learning how to navigate the platform, an incident happened - the region and zone that my Google Cloud and Datalab account was connected stoped working and in order to being able to use it again, I had to set a new default region and zone of work as well as a new VM. While doing it, I ended up loosing all the data and the progress that I had done with my code. I couldn't find it, so I created a new notebook and started from scratch again. Through this incident, I also learned how to download the notebooks and now every time that I need to log off from Datalab, I download the notebooks in case that this incident happens again.

Moreover, I also had my weekly meeting with Jan Janak and Dr. Schulzrinne on Wednesday and also talked to Jarak on Monday besides having my first presentation about my project to the other DIMACS REU participants on Tuesday. I also attended the talk with Dr. Lydia Chilton on Friday and worked on my website page.

Week 3 (06/8-06/14):

During the third week, I continued to work on the graphs related to total bytes of download and the average download speed for the months of January, February and March. In addition to that, I analyzed more closely on the characteristics of the households from where the FCC can take their data from, and I also participated in the data analysis bootcamp hosted by DIMACS. Moreover, I also started to work on a more detailed analyses of the data going from a monthly analyses to a weekly analyses. I also had meetings with my supervisor and mentor.

Week 4 (06/15-06/21):

During this week, I continued to work on the more detailed graphs for download speed and total download bytes used per week, I computed the ratios of the download bytes usage and the average download speed between March and January and March and February and I also computed the same ratios for the total bytes of upload and the average upload speed. Moreover, I computed the graphs for these ratios and attended the events hosted by DIMACS REU. Finally, I also attended the weekly talk of FCBA Summer Series.

Week 5 (06/22-06/28):

This week I analyzed and computed more detailed ratios of download and upload total bytes and ratios of average download and upload speed between March and January and March and February per weekdays and weekends. I also started to located the households that have a heavier usage of download and upload bytes as well as the households that have a ligher usage of download and upload bytes. Moreover, I participated in the IFIP Network 2020 conference and started reading some papers related to the same issue that I have been investigating that my supervisor recommended me to read.

Week 6 (06/29-07/05):

During this week, I focused on locating the light users and calculating their ratios of download and upload data consumed between March and January of 2020 and also started some geographical analysis. Moreover, I read some reference papers related to the topic of research that I am working on and created a reference section on my paper based on the work that other people have been done related to changes on Internet due to COVID-19. I had also to deal with some memory problems on Google Cloud and I attended the DIMACS events.

Week 7 (07/06-07/12):

This week I started calculating the data downloaded and uploaded in 2019 in order to analyse the trends of internet consumption that would be considered "normal" or "expected" if the COVID-19 outbreak had not existed. While finding these trends, it would be possible to measure the real impact of COVID-19 in the Internet usage. I also attended the DIMACS events and started using some other tables of data available in the data set used.

Week 8 (07/13-07/19):

During this week, we found out some errors with the data set that we were using which invalidated some of the results that I had already found. In this way, I had to conduct some experiments and analysis all over again and generate new graphs using the right data. For instance, I generated the average download and upload data consumed, ratios of average consumption between March and January of 2020 for weekdays and weekends, for heavy and light users and graphs with regional analysis. In addition to that, I started preparing my final DIMACS presentation and attended DIMACS and Barnard events. < br/>
Week 9 (07/20-07/26):

During this week, I continued updating my graphs and analysis with the right data sets and started preparing some more polished graphs to include in the paper. Moreover, I also finished preparing my final DIMACS presentation and presented it to people in the DIMACS REU program. Moreover, I also attended the DIMACS events.

Week 10 (07/27-07/31):

During my final week of work during the summer, I focused on writting the first draft of my research paper. I also attended the Barnard CS final event and conducted some final experiments and analysis with the data set.


  • First Presentation
  • Final Presentation

  • My Mentors

  • Dr. Henning Schulzrinne
  • PhD student Jan Janak

  • Acknowledgements

    I would like to thank my supervisor Professor Henning Schulzrinne and my mentor Jan Janak for all their guidance and help this summer, the Computer Science department at Barnard College and the Craig Newmark Philanthropies for making the funding of my project possible and the DIMACS REU for making this experience even more meaningful.