Re-blogging the entry I just posted on the Open Networking Summit and our RouteFlow demo:

RouteFlow demo at ONS


I am ashamed! I am ashamed of not having held to my promise of continuously blogging on the topics I am interested and believe are worth to share with Internet fellows. It is not that I have been unemployed or in sabbatical,  on the contrary, many achievements and good things happened since the last post on the QuagFlow developments (dated on July 7, 2010).

Lazy to blog about them? To be honest, it may be part of the reason… Priorities change over time, both in personal and professional affairs. Fortunately, the spirit of openness and intellectual sharing is very much alive, only not through this blog (or my underutilized twitter accounts @chesteve @futnetcpqd, more reasons for shame), a fact I intend to turn over. I have at least three unfinished post drafts that should have seen the light… Better never than ever! In this welcome back post I will report on some highlights during the past 12 months. In upcoming posts I will finish and release the existing drafts and provide regular updates on my current activities (if lucky, some of them even with some technical talent) as a Research Scientist at CPqD and happy human being settled in Campinas, Brazil.

What has happened since 07/07/2011?

This is a very incomplete and subjective (work-oriented) list of good things that happened since the last blog post. Apologies for the items I forgot to list! It is worth to note however that the last blog activity dates to late September 2010 via the comments. The discussion initiated by Carlos ‘Bill’ Nilton has become  a true cooperation with Unirio and CPqD and Bill has been of incredible value to our project, yielding very useful code contributions in the best spirit of open source materialized in the form of recent joint publications! I can fairly say that without this blog I would not have had the chance of working together with Bill, a reason alone that should fuel my energy to blogging  in 2011 and beyond!
Me and Carlos Macapuna, the day of Paragliding in Andradas. Looking forward to continue flying high!

Me and Carlos Macapuna, the day of Paragliding in Andradas. Looking forward to continue flying high!

At CPqD and together with the University of Campinas, we are working on a line of research that tries to marry open source routing software (Quagga) with programmable switches (OpenFlow).

OpenFlow is an initiative lead by Stanford University to open up networking devices (switches, routers, access points, base stations) by defining a standard protocol to define the packet forwarding actions. The main abstraction consists of a flow — though the flow table abstraction is still subject to refinements to best expose actual hardware resources — basically formed by any combination among a dozen pieces of information forming the context (i.e., packet header fields up to the transport layer plus incoming port) of a packet to be handled by a device.
You can find more details reading the current specification or the multiple academic papers on OpenFlow. Or even better, put your hands on OpenFlow by following this tutorial (recently held by Stanford people in the major distributed systems Brazilian conference).

OpenFlow is certainly not the first approach to enable some degree of network programmability — the so sought holly grail of network infrastructure providers. Related work can be dated back to the 90´s and the efforts in programming telecommunication networks, the OPENSIG community, IEEE 1520, MPOA (Multi-protocol over ATM), GSMP (General Switch Management Protocol) RFC3292, the active network research thread, and more recently work being done at IETF forces WG (Forwarding and Control Element Separation).

While the motivation behind all this body of work is more or less the same (enabling new features, lowering costs, new revenue streams, etc.). To my understanding, the fundamental difference of the OpenFlow approach is its pragmatism. OpenFlow does not aim at trying to satisfy everybody´s needs and a pragmatic way starts by trying to re-use existing hardware capabilities (e.g, ACL in switches and routers) and defining a simple set of matching rules and associated actions (e.g., forward, discard, send to controller, re-write header XYZ). This way, OpenFlow could be enabled on existing hardware by means of a firmware update. And more importantly, industry attention has been attracted and we can already buy OpenFlow-enabled equipment and prototypes from big players like Cisco, HP, NEC, Extreme, and Juniper are on their way to the product line.

We have called our work QuagFlow and will be presented as a poster in this year´s SIGCOMM edition in New Delhi. See a preview below.

QuagFlow Sigcomm poster quagga openflow

Now that we are progressing with our vision and implementation of QuagFlow, along more literature research, we regret not having cited in our poster version the work by Lakshman et al. at Bell/Lucent on the SoftRouter Architecture. We are coming to a design close to what the SoftRouter has been pursuing on separating control software from routers. Their approach is based on the ForCES protocol vs our OpenFlow interface. Its unclear to me how far their prototypical work has gone along these years. Would like very much to know, especially as we should expect to face a set of similar challenges along our journey.

Further Reading:


Computing history has shown that open, multi-layer hardware and software stacks encourage innovation and bringcosts down. Only recently this trend is meeting the net-working world with the availability of entire open source net-working stacks being closer than ever. Towards this goal, weare working on QuagFlow, a transparent interplay between the popular Quagga open source routing suite and the lowlevel vendor-independent OpenFlow interface. QuagFlow isa distributed system implemented as a NOX controller ap-plication and a series of slave daemons running along thevirtual machines hosting the Quagga routing instances.

Over the last 12 months I have been very lucky to be able to make a top-conference tour:
CoNEXT in Madrid, Infocom in Rio, SIGCOMM in Barcelona and two Future Internet summer schools: 4Ward FISS in Bremen and Trilogy FISS in Louvain-le-Neuve. Thanks to all the organizers!!

sigcomm barcelona banner

I had the chance to meet very nice people from around the world, have great technical discussions, and of course a great time during the social events and the tourist activities. Sharing experiences with other PhD students has been very fruitful! Being able to hear in person the visions of tier-1 international researchers and getting first hand feedback of your own work …. priceless!

Poster enabling forwarding plane, van jacobson

Poster on enabling an information-centric forwarding plane. Discussion with Van Jacobson on CCN.

trilogy poster

poster session trilogy

– More photos from the Trilogy summer school
– And from SIGCOMM09

Now, the event season continues in Brazil. This week we are organizing our First International Workshop on New Architectures for Future Internet. The event will be streamed live and the material from the talks will be posted online. We plan to write and publish a summary report gathering the essence of the discussions and our conclusions for future Internet research activities. Next week, we will have the opportunity to report on Future Internet research at the XXVII Simpósio Brasileiro de Telecomunicações (SBrT 2009).

Joining the trend of using Web 2.0 technologies to make conferences more attractive and useful (with SIGCOMM09 being a remarkable example), we have set up the following information channels. Please feel free to join them. We will offer twitter to let remote participants participate in the Q&A sections and the discussion panels:

Live streaming of the event
– Twitter futnetcpqd channel for live conversations and remote questions to the speakers
– Linkedin: Join the Future Internet CPqD Open Research Group
– Flickr page with pictures from the workshop

Next time I will post on thoughts about the upcoming events.

It was a great week in Bremen!
The Future Internet Summer School has met by far my expectations. Good organized, excellent talks, multi-cultural interactions, technical discussions, tasty beer, and so on.

You can find most of the presentations and course material online.

I want to point you to the insightful presentation by Van Jacobson on thr work at Xerox PARC on content-centric networking. The slides are online:

Special Invited Plenary Short Course: (CCN) Content Centric Networking by: Van Jacobson

and hopefully the video will be also available. In the large and content-dense talk (around 2,5 hs), Van provided many details of the CCN architecture, presenting the models for content, nodes, routing, security, and transport, unveiling the practical foundations of CCN. He answered many of the questions from the 2006 video, but at the same time opened lots of new questions….

UPDATE 16/07/2010:

Future Internet Summer School (FISS09) Short course

One of my points to take home is that CCN not only works over IP, without new infrastructure requirements, but also very important you could run IP over CCN, by considering host identifiers (IP) as the content-objects you request…

A content layer for the new Internet waist

A content layer for the new Internet waist


infocom 09 in Rio

Last week I had the chance to participate in this year’s edition of the IEEE Infocom conferences in the “cidade maravilhosa” of Rio de Janeiro!

Great location, great technical program, and great panel discussion and keynotes. The first day there was an excellent tutorial on sensor networks by Jim Kurose, free of charge thanks to the conference sponsors!

From the panel on Clean Slate Architectures: Where Are We Today, And What Is The Path Forward?

My opinion on clean slate research continues the same: it does not presume clean slate deployment and aims at innovation through questioning the fundamentals withou the constraints of the currently deployed architecture. Recommended introductory reading by Prof. A. Feldman: Internet Clean-Slate Design: What and Why? and my information-centric perspective to future Internet design:

More to take home from Infocom (besides the papers, the promotional books by Pearson, and the calories from the churrascaria “Porcao”):


And from my notes of the panel on What Are The Hot Topics in Networking?

Prof. Keith Ross was IMO the one who pointed out the two most interesting trends (I am not that into wireless currently):

1.- The marriage of social networks and P2P: How to enrich / enhance p2p overlays with existing social networks to exploit, proximity, trust and security?

2.- Data center networking: A lot to do to in terms of architecting the large energy-hungry networking infrastructure of data centers. Splitting TCP connections at the front-end, load balancing, intelligent wiring, cost reduction, avoiding bottlenecks (network and I/O), etc… I hope his ppt will be available soon online. Look at SIGCOMM 2008 papers on data center designs to see what kind of research is going on, and more papers in this line are expected in this year’s SIGCOMM.

There was lots of discussion on what are good topics for PhD research. Confirming some of my late suspects, and in contradiction to my previous post on network coding, network coding was considered a topic losing temperature. The practical / killer deployments are not emerging, and for wired scenarios the applications of pure network coding are still yet to be proven effective and efficient to be worth.

For more on cold topics in network: Jon Crowcroft, “Cold Topics in Networking”

and by googling for the link I found a promising material of a recent workshop held by Jon Crowcroft covering research issues and methodology.

Research on happiness

I just watched a TED talk from Dan Gilbert (Psychologist; happiness expert) on his research work around “happiness”.  In a funny and insightful talk Dan explains the human behaviour around happiness and provides counter intuitive examples. 

Don´t miss his videos on TED if you want to understand:

  • the answer on what makes you fell happy or
  • why we do not feel miserable if we don’t get what we want,
  • is there a “synthetic” happiness,
  • the psychological immune system work
  • and more…
 Dan Gilbert researches happiness

Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?     
TED Talks Dan Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness, challenges the idea that we’ll be miserable if we don’t get what we want.


In a previous post on good content I suggested another video from TED, again one psychologist unveiling our daily human behaviour:

Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice | Video on TED.com
  • TED Talks Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central belief of western societies: that freedom ofchoice leads to personal happiness.