Events / CIS Colloquium: Pamela Zave

CIS Colloquium: Pamela Zave

September 27, 2018
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Pamela Zave

Department of Computer Science

Princeton University


Location: Wu & Chen Auditorium, 101 Levine Hall


The compositional architecture of the Internet


In 1992 the explosive growth of the World Wide Web began. In 1993 the last major change was made to the “classic” Internet architecture. Since then the Internet has been adapted to handle a truly impressive list of additional applications and unforeseen challenges, at global scale. Although the architecture of the Internet has changed drastically, the way that experts talk about it has not changed. As a result, there is no adequate foundation for re-using solution patterns, verifying trustworthy network services, or evolving toward a better Internet.


This talk introduces a new formal model of networking, based on flexible composition of modular networks. Each module is a microcosm of networking, with all of the basic structures and mechanisms. The new model provides precise, consistent descriptions of how the Internet works today. It also shows that a new network is usually added to the Internet architecture because there is a need for a capability that is intrinsically difficult to implement in the classic architecture, or because there is a need to maintain several distinct views (membership, topology, trust, etc.) of the same network. Layered architectures can be simpler than flattened ones, and also more efficient.


Technological advances are rapidly making most network components programmable.  In this context, the new model could be used to implement re-usable, customizable infrastructure. Currently we are using it to investigate the interactions among services (such as secure communication or mobility) and architectural features (such as middleboxes or cloud computing), in pursuit of proof structures and better compositional designs.