Jan 212011

For the ReArch 2010 workshop at the ACM Conext in Philadelphia, we (that’s me and my Hungarian colleague Gergely Biczok) presented first thoughts on the issue of price differentiation in a Future Internet.

We argue that the current Internet experience (from a pricing perspective) is that of separately paying the truck driver when you buy goods in a supermarket. Price differentiation, however, is quite commonplace in other industries. You pay differently for flights, depending on time of booking and class, obviously. The same goes for train tickets, discounts in supermarkets (buy one, get one free). But why is it not commonplace in the Internet?

In the paper, we argue that the resource sharing paradigm of the current Internet with its opaque bit transfer service largely stands in the way of differentiating product offerings. If wanted, it requires rather expensive out-of-band signalling frameworks, which are often only implemented for premium services (if at all).

How does this relate to the information-centric work we are doing in PURSUIT? We argue in the paper that an architecture similar to that of PURSUIT would allow for an in-band solution for price differentiation – the labels for information literally become price labels. The scoping concept of PURSUIT provides an additional powerful tool to aggregate pricing and tie the information concepts (reflected in the scoping and labeling structure being used for a particular application or area) to appropriate pricing concepts associated to the products being offered.

This is a bold argument and we openly admit (in the paper and here) that much is to be done in this space. Scalability and performance are obvious issues. How to do an efficient clearinghouse is certainly an interesting question. But the socio-economic issues are equally important and interesting. The obvious one is how this relates to the infamous network neutrality debate. What is the role of regulation to provide a common basis of openness while not standing in the way of differentiating offerings through more flexible pricing schemes?

All of these are interesting directions of research, some of which we will address in PURSUIT, others which we will seek collaboration with external experts.

In case you are interested in the paper itself, you can find it here.

 Posted by at 16:14
Dec 012010

This year’s ReArch workshop featured a panel on content-centric research efforts with the attempt to identify commonalities and differences between the various approaches. Being in competition with a Dagstuhl seminar, it was seemingly difficult to get members of various project to attend. But the organisers still managed to get three project involved: PURSUIT and two recently granted NSF FIA (Future Internet Architecture) projects, namely the eXpressive Internet Architecture (XIA) and Nebula.

It was interesting to debate the various propositions and argue about possible differences. It seems that the XIA project is closest to PURSUIT. Its notion of content, service and host identifiers is somewhat different from the single information identifiers in PURSUIT. But given that RIds in PURSUIT can also point to mutable data (although our current node architecture implements immutable data objects only), it is not THAT different, really.

Apart from the direct discussions, a major outcome is the identification that possible collaborations in various areas might be beneficial. We will certainly look into these possible areas.

 Posted by at 01:44

Introduced Thesis Ideas

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Nov 022010

PURSUIT is very active in pursuing a variety of interesting research ideas. However, our efforts are limited, which is frustrating since we believe that some of the ideas formulated during our work, but impossible to pursue, are worthwhile being looked at.

So we have decided to share some of our ideas with the wider community in order to stimulate the research in this area beyond our limited efforts. Check out our new page of ideas!

Note that we do not claim any intellectual property or copyright on these ideas. However, we would love to collaborate on the take-up of any of the published ideas. Hence, if you do decide to start some research in some of the suggested areas, please feel free to contact us for exploring a collaboration possibility!

 Posted by at 09:49
Oct 122010

I’m pleased to announce that PURSUIT has established an advisory board with esteemed members of the research community. The objectives of this board is to provide feedback on our work through regular informal contacts and information sharing.

The members of this boards can be found here.

 Posted by at 12:36
Oct 082010

There is a discussion to be had on the usage of long-lived routing identifiers. The paper from Smetters and Van Jacobson assert that embedding long-lived identifiers (here: URLs) into the routing fabric allows for solving the content security problem by making it hard to subvert it. They assert that solutions like in PURSUIT, which uses self-certified labels, separate the (name) resolution from the identifier and make it harder to secure the content (since it needs to secure the resolution mechanism). Is this a bug or a feature?

From our perspective, it is a feature:

  1. Separating name resolution from identifier management separates tussle spaces that allow for solutions in naming governance while not affecting the routing fabric (a very different function).
  2. It faces up to the reality that one form of long-lived identifiers is possibly not the only one (the world is not only about hierarchical names – or DNS for that matter!!).
  3. It avoids long-lived identifiers as the norm and introduces the possibility to link to long-lived identifiers via separate resolution mechanisms, if necessary. This is to accommodate cases where long-lived identifiers are unnecessary and the dealing with its governance is more of a burden than an advantage.
  4. It tries to avoid leverage on routing level to act on long-lived identifiers – as pointed out by David Clark in a to-appear publication at ReArch 2010: if one exposes the long-lived meaning of data on routing level, it can create appetite for parties to act on it (through blockage or dropping) in unwanted ways. If the issues are decoupled, a party being faced with these actions can subvert them by falling back to the resolution mechanism at hand (if this is out of hands of the party acting by dropping/blocking) by changing the assignment of identifier to name or simply not using any standardized mechanism in the first place.

But there’s a deeper issue: Are long-lived identifiers really useful? And is there one commonly agreed form of it? Most URLs, while being human-readable, are not human-understandable anyways. And if they are, they don’t matter. Most URLs are hidden behind link descriptions that are more telling to humans than their URL representation. The address bar in browsers has transformed into a combined address/search bar, providing a seamless swapping of “human understandable search terms” and agreed/defined URL for accessing information on the web (legend has that the most searched term in Google on 9/11 was “CNN” ). And email is in parts already replaced by Facebook messages, tweets etc. In other words, there are many concepts of human understandable identification that is used at the app layer anyways – many of them not strictly hierarchical, BTW. So you will end up relying on some form of resolution in any case. So why burdening oneself with a specific form of it if you can instead decouple the function and tie it into the content security problem once needed!

There’s more to be discussed on this issue. We need to understand the considerations on labeling vs naming!

 Posted by at 08:21
Sep 222010

The PURSUIT project builds on the successful foundation of the PSIRP project (another FP7 project that will end by 30.09.2010) in terms of architecture, technologies and implementation as well as test bed.

The PSIRP project has been working towards a demonstration at the ICT 2010 exhibition with a voice, video and web application each to demonstrate features of the new internetworking architecture that this project has been aiming for. Although still in early stages, the newly established test bed between several European sites (Cambridge, Essex, Helsinki, Aachen, Sofia, and Athens) will be shown off during the demonstrations (proper Internet connectivity permitting). You can not only see the demonstration but also get some background information on key technologies, quiz some of the project members and get in touch with others.

So: Please visit the PSIRP demo at ICT 2010

 Posted by at 14:41

A successful start

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Sep 152010

The PURSUIT kickoff has been a successful start into the project. Most of the kickoff is over by now although the code camp will continue until mid of tomorrow.

Given that the project is hitting the ground running, an emphasis is given on integrating our new partners successfully into the project. CCTV, Essex University and CERTH have been familiar in one way or another with the work that PURSUIT is based on, namely the PSIRP project. However, the necessary introduction into the main concepts and thrusts of PSIRP has been a good exercise, also for existing project partners.

Much discussion was spent on carving out the work for the first few months. Some of the areas include:

  • State-of-the-art: PSIRP performed a substantial state-of-the-art analysis which now needs revision and extension towards the topics of PURSUIT. The current PSIRP results can be found on the FIpedia site and we expect PURSUIT to utilize and extend this existing material.
  • Tussle identification: A crucial approach for identifying the necessary work for our architecture work is to outline the major tussles that our work intends to address or that our architecture intends to somehow address or change. Hence, work will be conducted in identifying these tussles and develop a methodology to qualitatively and possibly quantitatively evaluate the various tussles. It is our intention todeepen our understanding of function placement within our architecture.
  • Transport and Caching: A major thrust of PURSUIT is the necessary functions for transport and caching within our architecture. A first step is understanding existing work in this area and the relation to our work. This includes, e.g., multicast transport, generic router assisted multicast, CDNs and more.
  • Forwarding and topology: Emphasis is given on the implementation of our architecture over various sub-architectures, specifically optical and wireless. Techniques for topology management and forwarding tree construction in these environments are investigated in our early work with the goal to later implement various design choices.
  • Mobility: How to handle mobility of publishers and subscribers (and even sub-networks) is crucial for understanding the mobility support of our architecture. Focus will be given on properly understanding the existing state-of-the-art in this space, such as the work on seamless mobility in the IETF.
  • Extending the node implementation: Our current Blackhawk code basis provides an early prototype for possible future networking nodes of our architecture. Several activities are planned to extend this basis, e.g., through the integration with Click (see previous post). This aims for simplifying the extension of the platform for, e.g., caching or transport solutions in our future research.

Overall, the project kickoff was an exciting start into the new project with many ideas and concrete areas of work that will continue and expand the foundation that the PSIRP project has provided. You can expect some of the outcomes of the areas above to be visible in the future on this site. There are various other activities, partly related to the areas above, that will be started, too.

 Posted by at 12:20

Follow us on Twitter now!

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Sep 142010

You can now follow PURSUIT on twitter: fp7pursuit is our name there. Updates will hopefully be light, mainly focussing on the news-type of information. Join us now!

 Posted by at 09:12
Aug 192010

As a form of engagement with the non-project audience that might be interested in our research, this website will feature topics under the discussions category. These topics are contributed by project members relating to problems or issues encountered in our research work for which we seek the contributions and comments of the wider audience. Contributions here will be comment-enabled like a normal blog. Hence, anybody can contribute to the discussions, as long as you pass the simple captcha test :lol:

 Posted by at 17:30