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Stanford University Networking Seminar

Hakim Weatherspoon (Cornell University)
From the Cloud to SoNIC: Precise Realtime Software Access and Control of Wired Networks

12:15pm, Thursday, April 17, 2014
Gates 104

About the Talk

We are, at last, on the verge of realizing the computer utility vision (Multics: 1965). Its name today is cloud computing. It promises to catalyze the technology economy, revolutionize health care, military, government, and financial systems, scientific research, and of course society. Central to the cloud and all of its promise is the network. Unfortunately, much of the network protocol stack is a black box to systems programmers, especially the physical and data link layers. These two layers contain valuable information to help ensure the network is reliable and performing. The issue: These two layers are often inaccessible in software as a result much of their potential goes untapped. In this talk, I will introduce SoNIC, Software-defined Network Interface Card, which provides access to the physical and data link layers in software. By implementing the creation of the bitstream in software and the transmission of the bitstream in hardware, SoNIC provides complete control over the entire network stack in realtime. As an example of SoNIC’s fine-granularity control, it can perform precise network measurements (in realtime) at the pico-second scale, accurately characterizing network components such as routers, switches, and network interface cards. Further, SoNIC enables timing channels with nano-second modulations that are undetectable in software.

About the Speaker

Hakim Weatherspoon is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University. His research interests cover various aspects of fault-tolerance, reliability, security, and performance of large Internet-scale systems such as cloud computing and distributed systems. Professor Weatherspoon a Berkeley alum! He received his Ph.D. from Berkeley in 1999. Before receiving his PhD, Prof. Weatherspoon eceived his B.S. from University of Washington. Prof. Weatherspoon is an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and recipient of an NSF CAREER award, DARPA Computer Science Study Panel (CSSP), IBM Faculty Award, the NetApp Faculty Fellowship, Intel Early Career Faculty Honor, and the Future Internet Architecture award from the National Science Foundation (NSF)