Entry Date:
December 26, 2012

Integrated Future Internet Architecture

Principal Investigator David Clark

Project Start Date May 2012

Project End Date
 April 2015

This research is intended to build on, complement, and enhance the NSF future Internet architecture programs through cross-cutting and integrative comparative analysis of architectural proposals. Over the last 6 years, the National Science Foundation has created a series of programs focused on new Internet architecture and the embedding of networking into the larger social context: these include the Future Internet Design (FIND) program, the Network Science and Engineering (NetSE) program, and Future Internet Architecture (FIA) solicitation. This sequence of programs address a bold objective?to look into the future and challenge the research community to design the global network that the world will need fifteen years from now. In the current stage of the overall program, a number of teams have been funded to develop integrated proposals for the design of a future Internet. Each of these projects can be expected to produce a coherent justification for one or another approach to the architecture of a future network, but the overall outcome of the project should be much more than that: it should also result in overarching insights into design preferences and alternative approaches, general lessons about network system design, and a more systematic rationale for designing networks and concluding that one response to requirements is preferable to another. The FIA project should push the frontiers of principled network design, and this phase of the programs has laid the foundation for this exciting step.

The research addresses these larger project goals through a program of research that is complementary to the current awards, by looking across the projects (and other relevant architectural work) to seek more integrative and overarching conclusions. The challenge is difficult, given the diversity of goals and requirements that might be posed for a system as complex as the Internet, as well as the diversity of design approaches. In contrast to much of computer science research, this agenda is focused on comparative analysis, not engineering design. As appropriate, the research will be done in collaboration with the individual projects through cross-project studies on specific topics related to network design. The investigator will seek to involve others in the broader community who have given thought to high-level issues in network architecture, and will carry out his own research into principals and methods for network design. The investigator will also participate in the FIA PI meetings, since those meetings will explore specific topics in a cross-project way.