Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Venue: IST, Mondi 2
The operation of traditional computer networks is known to be a difficult manual and error-prone task. Over the last years, even tech-savvy companies have reported major issues with their network, due to misconfigurations, leading to disruptive downtimes. As a response to the difficulty of maintaining policy compliance, and given the critical role that computer networks (including the Internet, datacenter networks, enterprise networks) play today, researchers have started developing more principled approaches to networking and specification. Over the last years, we have witnessed great advances in the development of mathematical foundations for computer networks and the emergence of high-level network programming languages such as NetKAT. While powerful, however, existing formal frameworks often come with potentially high (super-polynomial) running times — even without considering failure scenarios.
This talk first gives an overview of the “softwarization” trends in communicaiton networks and motivates why formal methods are currently the “hot topic” in this area. I will then present a what-if analysis framework which allows us to verify important properties such as policy compliance and reachability in communication networks in polynomial time, even in the presence of (multiple) failures. Our framework relies on an automata-theoretic approach, and applies both to the widely deployed MPLS networks as well as to the emerging Segment Routing networks. In addition to the theory underlying our approach (presented at INFOCOM 2018 together with Jiri Srba, patent pending), I will also report on our query language, the tool we develop at Aalborg University, as well as on our first evaluation results.
I would also like to use the opportunity of this talk to provide a brief overview of our other research activities, especially the ones related to network security and the design of demand-aware and self-adjusting networks. We are currently eager to establish connections and collaborations within Vienna and Austria in general, related to all the presented topics and beyond. More details about our research activities can also be found at https://net.t-labs.tu-berlin.de/~stefan/