US boffins prepare for next-gen internet

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US boffins prepare for next-gen internet

US researchers today unveiled plans for a "bold new research platform" that will help design the "21st century internet".

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) project aims to develop a secure next-generation global network to offer safe online commerce and total protection from cyber-criminals.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), which is supporting the project, announced that BBN Technologies has been selected to serve as the GENI Project Office.

The office will work closely with the computing research community to create and develop the GENI design.

The creation of a project office, which received an award of US$2.5 million (A$3 million) per year for up to four years, is a major step in the NSF process to build major research.

"In a little more than 25 years, the internet has gone from an obscure research network to a critical piece of the national communication infrastructure," said Deborah Crawford, acting assistant director of NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate.

"But an internet fundamentally better than today's may require large-scale, systematic research initiatives focused on the hardest scientific and technical challenges, driven by overarching visions of how the future might look."

Chip Elliott, principal investigator and project director at BBN Technologies, added: "GENI will give scientists a clean slate on which to imagine a completely new internet that will be materially different from that of today.

"We want to ensure that this next stage of transformation will be guided by the best possible network science, design, experimentation and engineering."

The GENI Science Council, composed of researchers in computer networking, distributed systems, cyber-security and other related fields, will represent research community interests by working closely with the NSF.

The idea for the GENI project dates back to an NSF workshop held in early 2005. A team of researchers led by Princeton University's Larry Peterson envisioned that GENI would consist of a collection of physical networking components, including links, forwarders, storage, processor clusters and wireless subnets.

These resources are collectively called the GENI substrate. A software management framework will layer network experiments on the substrate, and each experiment will run in a slice of the substrate.

In concept, GENI components are programmable, which will make it possible to embed experiments, including clean-slate designs that are radically different from today's internet architecture and protocols.

The virtual substrate will also allow thousands of slices to run simultaneously, including some experimental services and architectures that can run continuously.
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