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MIT Creates New System That Can Decrease Page-Load Times By 34 Percent

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In 2016, some web pages can still be frustratingly slow but researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) together with Harvard, have created new technology that could help with our slow-web page woes. After testing, the system named ‘Polaris’ has been able to decrease page-load times by 34 percent and MIT are hoping that soon the web technology will be embedded in browsers.

The difficulty with slow-loading web pages not only affects personal users but also businesses who claim that loss of revenue can be directly linked to slow page-loading. Increased use of mobile devices to surf the web is causing browsers the biggest headache. Compared to desktop browsing, cell networks take slightly longer because the cost of communicating with the server is much higher. PhD student Ravi Netravali explains that “cell networks are really making page load times much larger than they should be”,

Until a few years ago, a lot of people have targeted improving browsers themselves, or making your Javascript engines faster, making your HTML processor faster and so on. And so today browsers like Chrome and Firefox are very heavily optimized. But I think now given the rise of mobile the focus is now shifting towards the fact that these delays — these RTTs [round-trip times] on these cell networks are really making page load times much larger than they should be

So how does Polaris work? According to MIT News, the system automatically tracks all of the interactions between objects. It then uses its detailed log of these interactions to efficiently find the most effective and fastest way that these objects can interact with each other. This cuts out any unnecessary interactions and therefore saves more time.

According to Tech Crunchthe researchers tested Polaris across a range of network conditions on the top 200 popular websites and found that the web page loads were reduced on average by 34 percent. This is good news for more complex websites including e-commerce sites such as Amazon who believe that every 100-millisecond delay cuts its profits by 1 percent. Netravali explains that they are hoping that the commercial browsers will adopt the system and integrate the technology directly into their software. Further plans will be to eventually open source it.

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