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SDSC's CAIDA Internet Research Group Part of New NSF Awards

Research to Explore New Architectures for a More Robust, Scalable, and Secure Internet

Published 09/02/2010

A research project involving the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis (CAIDA), based at the San Diego Supercomputer Center at UC San Diego, has been selected by the National Science Foundation (NSF) as part of a series of awards aimed at pursuing new and innovative ways to create a more trustworthy and robust Internet.

The NSF's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) last week formally announced awards for four new projects, each worth up to $8 million over three years, as part of the Future Internet Architecture (FIA) program.

The four research and system design projects funded under the FIA program explore different dimensions of the network architecture design space, and emphasize different visions of future Internet. NSF anticipates that the teams will explore new directions and a diverse range of research thrusts within their research agenda, but also work together to enhance and possibly integrate architectural thinking, concepts, and components - thus paving the way to a comprehensive and trustworthy network architecture of the future.

"Over the next three years, the FIA effort will include the design, prototyping, and evaluation of different aspects of network architectures," said Victor Frost, Program Director for the FIA projects, in an NSF announcement.

The project in which SDSC's CAIDA is participating is called 'Named Data Networking,' with Lixia Zhang of UCLA as the principal investigator (PI). In addition to UCLA and UC San Diego, collaborating institutions include Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Colorado State University, University of Arizona, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, UC Irvine, University of Memphis, Washington University, and Yale University.

The Named Data Networking (NDN) project will seek to address the technical challenges in creating such a network, including routing scalability, fast forwarding, trust models, network security, content protection and privacy, and a new fundamental communication theory enabling its design.

Currently, the Internet's traditional approach to communications is based on a client-server model of interaction whereby communicating parties establish a relationship and then proceed to transfer information where data contained within Internet Protocol (IP) packets are transported along a single path. Today, however, the most predominant use of the Internet is centered on content creation, dissemination and delivery, and researchers believe this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.

While the basic client-server model has enabled a wide range of services and applications, it does not incorporate adequate mechanisms to support secure content-oriented functionality, regardless of the specific physical location where the content resides. The proposed NDN architecture would move the communication paradigm from today's focus on "where", (i.e. addresses, servers, and hosts) to "what" (i.e., the content that users and applications care about.)

"By naming data instead of their location or IP address, NDN transforms data into first-class entities," explained K.C. Claffy, the director of CAIDA and a co-PI of the new project. "Today's Internet secures the communication channel or path between two communication points, and sometimes secures the data with encryption. NDN secures the contents, a design choice that decouples trust in data from trust in hosts, enabling several radically scalable communication mechanisms such as automatic caching to optimize bandwidth."

"One research effort to which the CAIDA team will contribute is how to efficiently find optimal communication paths directly through the hierarchical content name space," said Dmitri Krioukov, another co-PI from CAIDA. "We believe that our recent results on the hyperbolic nature of complex hierarchical network spaces will prove useful in this regard."

"As our reliance on a secure and highly dependable information technology infrastructure continues to increase, it is no longer clear that emerging and future needs of our society can be met by the current trajectory of incremental changes to the current Internet." said Ty Znati, director of the Computer and Network Systems Division within CISE. "Thus our call to the research community to propose new Internet architectures that hold promise for the future."

Please click for information about the other NSF/FIA awards.

CAIDA is a collaborative undertaking among organizations in the commercial, government, and research sectors aimed at promoting greater cooperation in the engineering and maintenance of a robust, scalable global Internet infrastructure.

About SDSC
As an organized research unit of UC San Diego, SDSC is a national leader in creating and providing cyberinfrastructure for data-intensive research. Cyberinfrastructure refers to an accessible and integrated network of computer-based resources and expertise, focused on accelerating scientific inquiry and discovery. SDSC is a founding member of TeraGrid, the nation's largest open-access scientific discovery infrastructure.

Media Contacts:
Jan Zverina, SDSC Communications
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Warren R. Froelich, SDSC Communications
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