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CAIDA Receives DARPA Cooperative Agreement to Develop Tools and Technologies for Next-Generation Internet

UC San Diego Leads Effort to Measure, Predict, and Engineer Internet Infrastructure

Published 07/22/1998

For more information, contact:
Tracie Monk, CAIDA, 619-822-0943,
View the CAIDA Web page at

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO -- Under the auspices of the Next-Generation Internet initiative, the Defense Advanced Projects Research Administration (DARPA) has awarded a two-year, $3.3 million cooperative agreement to the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA) for a research effort based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) on the campus of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). An additional option may raise the total funding to $6.6 million over three years.

The project represents a leading-edge technology effort -- it will advance the technology and infrastructure to measure, visualize, and predict traffic behavior on the Internet and on advanced networks such as the Next-Generation Internet (NGI). Project researchers will develop and deploy tools to better engineer and operate networks, to enhance network security, and to identify traffic anomalies in real time.

CAIDA is a non-profit research organization established in 1997 to promote greater cooperation in the engineering and maintenance of a robust, scalable global Internet infrastructure. Founded with seed money from the NSF and based at SDSC, CAIDA seeks to encourage cooperation among competitive service providers and vendors and to speed technology transfer from the research community to commercial applications, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and Next-Generation Internet networks. CAIDA maintains an association with the NSF-funded National Laboratory for Applied Network Research's Measurement and Operations Analysis Team (NLANR/MOAT), which also conducts research at SDSC.

Since scaling the Next Generation Internet upward in size, speed, complexity, and capabilities will require knowledge of network activity and configuration beyond that available with current monitoring devices, CAIDA plans to develop a new generation of traffic flow monitors. These will operate at OC48, and possibly up to OC192 data rates -- approximately 2.5 and 10 gigabits per second. Previous efforts by NLANR, CAIDA, and MCI Telecommunications Corporation have led to the development and deployment of "Coral"-series traffic monitors at OC3 and OC12 speeds at sites throughout the Internet infrastructure. The NGI effort will extend the community's ability to monitor traffic across high-speed backbones and enhance the breadth of data available for analysis by both backbone engineers and networking researchers.

"Understanding macro-level traffic behavior at the infrastructure level is fundamental to our ability to manage and scale the Internet," explained Dr. K.C. Claffy, principal investigator of the project and founder of CAIDA. The proposed tasks represent areas of high priority to networks, but which are beyond the purview of individual companies. "Assistance from the government," explained Claffy, "can provide the impetus necessary to start a self-sustaining cooperative process that will have significant long-term payback for both Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and NGI networks."

The project will concentrate on developments in three related areas that are vital to the implementation and operation of the Next-Generation Internet:

  • Passive high performance monitors capable of monitoring light streams in real time on networks operating at OC48, and up to OC192 speeds.
  • Active monitoring tools to collect connectivity and path specific performance information for visualization and tomographic (x-ray type) analyses of aspects of Internet traffic.
  • Solutions for real-time filtering of traffic flows and identification of traffic anomalies using Coral monitors, and expanding denial-of-service attack detection and tracing capabilities to meet the needs of high-performance networks.

In addition, UCSD/SDSC personnel will build upon their experience with high-performance storage systems and data mining to develop open architecture solutions that will support the storage and data analysis of terabytes of Internet topology, traffic performance, and traffic flow data.

Under a Year Three option, CAIDA personnel plan to develop an OC192 monitor, enhance the tomography and security tools, and initiate the development of traffic models.

"These tasks pose major technical challenges," Claffy said, "but their potential for enhancing our understanding of the intricacies of the Internet and its traffic patterns are significant.

Like most of CAIDA's initiatives, this project will rely on the participation of various public and private entities. "Collaborations between researchers and commercial companies, such as those associated with this NGI award, are prime examples of the way DARPA can promote technology transfer and benefit the Internet community," commented Hilarie Orman, DARPA Project Manager. Collaboration and openness is an essential aspect of the project. Research results, all code and device schematics, and the raw data (filtered to protect privacy) developed through this effort will be made available to other NGI researchers, ISPs, and hardware and software vendors as they become available. Availability of both raw and correlated data will be invaluable elements of technology transfer, in the development and testing of new Internet hardware and software products and in planning for the Next-Generation Internet's protocols and technologies.

Subcontractors in the effort may include General Atomics staff at SDSC and the vBNS team at MCI Telecommunications Corporation. Other project participants include: the DARPA-supported OC192 NTON network (led by Lawrence Berkeley Labs and Nortel Corp.); the Internet-2's Abilene network; the Navy's Space and Warfare Command; the Army Research Laboratory; and various Internet Service Providers in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

Further Information

CAIDA Web site:
Tracie Monk at 619-822-0943, <>

Background and technical information about the Next-Generation Internet at DARPA can be found at and

Coral traffic flow monitors are documented at

Information on the activities of the research groups at NLANR and SDSC's Pacific Institute of Computer Security (PICS) is available through and

The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is a research unit of the University of California, San Diego. SDSC is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the National Partnership for Advanced Computational Infrastructure and by other federal agencies, the State and University of California, and private organizations. For additional information about SDSC, see and, or contact Ann Redelfs at SDSC, 619-534-5032,

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