Course Description


T-110.6120 Special course on Data Communications Software
Autumn 2011, study period I, 12.9.-23.10.2011

Publish/Subscribe Internetworking, 4 cr
by docent Arto Karila
Mondays and Tuesdays at 16-18 in lecture hall T5, starting Monday 12.9.2011

Course Description

The Internet has evolved to be dominated by content distribution and retrieval. People increasingly want to access information – not hosts. However, the Internet is still based on naming hosts and addressing their network interfaces. We want to be able to specify what we wish to receive rather than where it shall be retrieved from. This leads into information-centric networking where content is named, routed and cached. Another major problem with the current internet is that it is working on the terms of the sender of information, which leads to unsolicited traffic, including spam and denial-of-service attacks. We need to restore the balance empowering the consumers of information.

The publish/subscribe paradigm (pub/sub) is a proposed solution to the needs described above. Publications are named and you only receive the publications that you have subscribed to. Since January 2008, TKK-HIIT has been coordinating an EU FP7 projects PSIRP (, from January 2008 to September 2010) and PURSUIT (, from September 2010 until February 2013), where a new internet architecture is being designed, implemented, and validated based entirely on the publish/subscribe paradigm. Rendezvous IDs (RId) identify publications within scopes specified by Scope IDs (SId). Already in the PSIRP project, a complete core architecture and its working prototype (Blackhaw, running on FreeBSD) were developed. The experience gained confirmed our initial assumption, that an internet architecture can be built on the publish/subscribe paradigm and that certain applications, such as BitTorrent, are almost trivial to implement on it. In the PURSUIT project, the architecture is developed further to better support applications as well as wireless and optical networks and a new prototype implementation Blackadder running on Linux was created.

Many leading Internet researchers believe that the shift towards information-centric networking and publish/subscribe-type approach is inevitable. This new paradigm will require new skills from developers of applications and services and the purpose of this special course is to give the students an introduction to pub/sub.

Even if the Internet should ultimately move towards pub/sub, studying a new paradigm and an entire internetworking architecture based on it should be an exercise well worth the effort. What-ever happens in the Internet, there will be fundamental changes during the next two decades and we need to challenge our thinking to be able to meet them.

The course is lectured twice a week during the first half of the autumn semester (I teaching period) and it is primarily targeted to senior and graduate students.

The course is lectured by Dr. Arto Karila and other researchers of the PURSUIT project and assisted by Sanna Suoranta.


There are no mandatory prerequisites for the course. However, the course is targeted to senior and graduate students, and its successful passing requires a basic understanding of inter-networking and its concepts. T-110.4100 Computer Networks or something similar is recommended. Familiarity with the Internet and an open mind.

Course Material

Course material will be published in Noppa and Optima:

  • Various journal articles and conference papers
  • Selected public reports and other material of the PSIRP and PURSUIT projects

Passing the Course

Passing the course requires the following (detailed description will be published later):

  • Active participation in the lectures
  • Weekly learning diary, peer reviewing them, and participation to discussion in Optima
  • Filling in a questionnaire at the beginning and at the end of the course
  • Course feedback

The grade is determined by the quality of the learning diaries, participation to the discussions in lectures and in Optima (quality and quantity of ideas) and questionnaires submitted.