Conference | DOI: 10.1145/1629175.1629186
Kirk L. Kroeker
The National Science Foundation’s meeting on Internet architectures
focused on designs related to emerging social and economic realities.
As pARt oF its Future Inter- net Design initiative, the National Science Founda- tion (NSF) is establishing funding in 2010 for several
multimillion-dollar research projects.
From October 12–15, 2009 at the Wa-terview Conference Center in Arlington, VA, the NSF held a Future Internet
Architectures Summit to gain input
from the research community about
developing calls for proposals related
to this funding. Summit organizers designed the format of the four-day event
to facilitate multidisciplinary collaboration in detailing new Internet architectures built in response to emerging
social and economic realities.
Altogether, the invitation-only summit drew 90 U.S.-based researchers with
expertise in networking, communications, security, privacy, and the social
and economic sciences. “The participants were engaged in the process and
made progress toward the articulation
of future network architectures,” says
Ty Znati, division director for computing and network systems in the NSF’s
Computer and Information Science
and Engineering (CISE) division. “They
also began to assemble and integrate
coherent ideas and building blocks into
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Znati says that while CISE is especially interested in stimulating the multidisciplinary exploration of future Internet architectures, focusing specifically
on one type of architecture or network
design was not a goal of the summit.
“The objective was to expand the scope
of research from a component-focused
agenda to the design of overarching architectures for future networks,” says
Znati. “It is not clear what the right architecture of future networks will be, so
the summit encouraged participants
to think about potential architectures
from multiple perspectives.”
ninety researchers attended the multidisciplinary summit on future internet architectures.
Objectives discussed at the event for
candidate architectures were far-rang-ing. One proposal suggested designing networks to function in the type of
infrastructure-poor environments typical of developing nations. Another suggested designing network architectures
for human identity, with the idea being
that communication is person- rather
than device-centric. A third suggested
designing a network architecture that
is more connected to the physical world
so that it would be capable not only of
information transport, but also of control, actuation, and sensing.
“The summit succeeded in paving
the way to the development of interdisciplinary communities that currently do
not exist, and in fostering collaborative
free thinking that otherwise would not
have been possible,” says Znati.
In the end, there was no discussion
about current Internet issues, such as
IPv6 or Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN)
governance. “While governance will
be an issue in 15 years, the current
and short-term future of ICANN is not
relevant,” says David Clark, a senior
research scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “I don’t think anyone said ‘ICANN’ the whole time. Those
are today’s arguments, not tomorrow’s
Clark has been helping the NSF organize its Future Internet Design program,
the goal of which is to envision and then
design what could be the Internet of 15
years from today. “In this meeting, people had many ideas about how to make
that goal more specific, but there was
no desire for consensus,” he says. “This
was a meeting to develop different ways
of responding to that challenge.”
Following a formal report on the summit proceedings, the NSF will send out
calls for proposals. The proposals will
be reviewed by an expert panel, which
will make recommendations with the
expectation that the NSF will fund up to
based in los angeles, Kirk L. Kroeker is a freelance
editor and writer specializing in science and technology.