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From EDA to NDA: Treating Networks like Hardware Circuits

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact David Greaves.

(Out-of-term, one-off extra seminar.)

Surveys reveal that network outages are prevalent, and outages take hours to resolve, resulting in significant lost revenue. We suggest fresh approaches based on verification and synthesis. First, I show how to exploit physical symmetry to scale network verification for large data centers. While Emerson and Sistla showed how to exploit symmetry for model checking in 1996, they exploited symmetry on the logical Kripke structure. We factor the symmetries into symmetries on headers and symmetries on the physical topology. I will then describe work we have done in synthesis. I will set the stage by describing a reconfigurable router architecture called RMT and an emerging language for programming routers called P4 (that promises to extend the boundaries of Software Designed Networks). We have worked on two synthesis efforts for flexible routers, one akin to register allocation (table layout) and one akin to code generation (packet transactions). I will focus especially on code generation and show that the all-or-nothing compilation required for wire-speed forwarding requires adapting standard compiler techniques. These results suggest that concepts from Electronic Design Automation (EDA) can be leveraged to create what might be termed Network Design Automation (NDA). I end by briefly exploring this vision. This is joint work with collaborators at Edinburgh, MSR , MIT, Stanford, and University of Washington.

BIOGRAPHY : George Varghese received his Ph.D. in 1992 from MIT . From 1993-1999, he was a professor at Washington University, and at UCSD from 1999 to 2013. He was the Distinguished Visitor in the computer science department at Stanford University from 2010-2011. He joined Microsoft Research in 2012. His book “Network Algorithmics” was published in December 2004 by Morgan-Kaufman. In May 2004, he co-founded NetSift, which was acquired by Cisco Systems in 2005. With colleagues, he has won best paper awards at SIGCOMM (2014), ANCS (2013), OSDI (2008), PODC (1996), and the IETF Applied Networking Prize (2013). He has won lifetime awards in networking from the EE (Kobayashi Award) and CS communities (SIGCOMM) in 2014.

This talk is part of the Wednesday Seminars - Department of Computer Science and Technology series.

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