The National Science Foundation is running two major projects that support clean-slate-Internet research.
The NSF is planning an experimental research network known as the Global Environment for Network Innovations (www.geni.net). GENI will provide network facilities and equipment to help researchers worldwide experiment with new Internet designs. Researchers could use GENI on projects such as new network-security models and applications that build their own communications stacks by programming portions of the network, explained Craig Partridge, BBN Technologies’ chief scientist and the GENI Project Office’s (GPO’s) out-reach director. He said the network won’t start operation for perhaps four or five years. The GPO is developing detailed engineering plans, and, if the NSF approves the funding, construction will begin. The GPO would then let academic and corporate research teams conduct work using slices of GENI. GENI’s early cost estimate is $350 million, Partridge said. GENI will be a modular,expandable federation of programmable, highly instrumented data-communications platforms, including fiber-optic and wireless networks, and distributed clusters of systems, Partridge noted. Several working groups are determining exactly what types of equipment the network will use. Researchers will access slices of particular platforms they want to workwith, such as the fiber-optic or wireless systems, as well as the overall network’s communications and computing capabilities, Partridge said.
The NSF is also funding 41 network-architecture-related projects through its Future Internet Network Design (FIND) initiative (www.nets-find.net). These projects include the development of architectural support for network troubleshooting at the University of California, Berkeley’s International Computer Science Institute; and research into monitoring, control, and troubleshooting mechanisms in future Internet architectures at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Massachusetts Amherst and University of Minnesota.