The Future: Networks as Programmable Platforms

Spring 2021

Advances in Software-Defined Networks (SDN) make it possible to treat the
network as a programmable platform: Programmable both top-to-bottom
(including the forwarding plane) and end-to-end (including the access network).
This talk discusses how this programmability can be used to support verifiable
closed-loop control, including throughout 5G mobile networks. The talk also
describes our experiences building an open source 5G-enabled edge cloud
that demonstrates the value of treating the network as a programmable platform.
A pilot deployment is now running in campuses and enterprises around the world,
and available for others interested in deep programmability to join.


Larry Peterson is the Robert E. Kahn Professor of Computer Science, Emeritus at Princeton University, where he served as Chair from 2003-2009. He is a co-author of the best selling networking textbook Computer Networks: A Systems Approach (6e), which is now available as open source on GitHub. His research focuses on the design, implementation, and operation of Internet-scale distributed systems, including the widely used PlanetLab and MeasurementLab platforms. He is currently working on a pilot 5G-enabled edge cloud, called Aether, an open source project of the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), where he serves CTO.

Professor Peterson is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the ACM and the IEEE, the 2010 recipient of the IEEE Kobayashi Computer and Communication Award, and the 2013 recipient of the ACM SIGCOMM Award. He received his Ph.D. degree from Purdue University in 1985.

Dr. Douglas E. Comer is a Distinguished Professor of Computer Science at Purdue University. Formerly, he served as VP of Research at Cisco Systems. As a member of the original IAB, he participated in early work on the Internet, and is internationally recognized as an authority on TCP/IP protocols and Internet technologies.

Dr. Comer has written a series of best-selling technical books on Computer Networks, Internets, Operating Systems, and Computer Architecture. His 3-volume Internetworking series is cited as an authoritative work on Internet protocols and technologies. Dr. Comer’s books have been translated into 16 languages, and are used in industry and academia in many countries.

Dr. Comer consults for industry, and has lectured to thousands of professional engineers and students around the world. For twenty years he was editor-in-chief of the journal Software – Practice and Experience. He is a Fellow of the ACM and the recipient of numerous teaching awards.

I am a senior researcher at Microsoft Research in the Mobility and Networking group. I got my PhD in computer science from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017 working with my advisors Prof. Boon Thau Loo and Prof. Roch Guerin. I completed my dual masters degree in computer science and electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in the same year. I completed my B. Sc. in Electrical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology in 2010. My work mainly focuses on automated network management and data center networking.

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