CAIDA’s Annual Report for 2009

August 11th, 2010 by kc

[Executive Summary from our annual report for 2009, which took longer than we expected to finish this year as we’ve been overly busy with material for 2010’s report..]

Our current research projects span topology, routing, traffic, economics, and policy. Our infrastructure activities support several measurement-based studies of the Internet’s core infrastructure, with focus on the health and integrity of the global Internet’s topology, routing, addressing, and naming systems.

We made significant advances (again…) in Internet topology research, supported by the expanding Ark measurement infrastructure and growing interest in understanding more about the Internet’s robustness, security, and scalability. We continue to share the largest Internet topology data sets (IPv4 and IPv6) available to academic researchers, and we share many aggregated annotated derivative data sets publicly, including rankings of ISPs annotated with (our estimated) business relationships between autonomous networks. Our topology measurement platform supports IPv6, and ten of our hosting sites provide IPv6 connectivity. We have developed substantial additional software to better support distributed measurement experiments. Specific to our IPv4 topology mapping project, we have taken on the task of optimizing and improving on existing techniques for IP address alias resolution for large Internet graphs, and are planning to package up and release an implementation of our algorithms next year. In 2009 we expanded the capability of other researchers to use the Ark infrastructure for independent experiments, including an extensive Internet-wide test of network filtering hygiene.

On the theoretical side of topology research, we finally published our topology modeling framework that treats annotations as an extended correlation profile of a network, which supports rescaling topologies while retaining the same (measured) annotation profile. We also advanced our exploration of geometric structure underlying Internet-like topologies as observed in our and other measurements. Specifically, hyperbolic geometry captures an important property of complex networks: exponential expansion in space. We explored even deeper connections between network topological structure (e.g., degree distribution, clustering) and physical phenomena such as curvature and temperature.

These discoveries about topology drive our routing research agenda, a long-term objective of which is to enable dramatically more scalable global Internet routing. We explored the ramifications of the discoveries we made last year regarding efficient routing on graph topologies statistically similar to those of the Internet. Based on the evidence, e.g, clustering, observable on the Internet and other complex networks, we found that underlying hyperbolic hidden metric spaces provide a natural explanation for why so many of these complex networks found in nature can achieve such phenomenally efficient (greedy) routing without distributing global topology knowledge. Since the distribution of global knowledge about network structure is perhaps the most critically limiting requirement of the current Internet interdomain routing system, we are still investigating theoretical details of a potentially radical solution to Internet routing scalability, which takes advantage of what nature knows that we do not (yet).

We undertook several traffic analysis activities, including creating a structured taxonomy of Internet traffic classification papers and their data sets, and analyzing the “Day in the Life of the Internet” 2009 data set, consisting of 24 hours of detailed DNS packet data collected at many participating root servers as well other high-profile DNS servers. We have reduced our traffic analysis activities in lieu of pursuing progress in the policy space through participation in DHS’s PREDICT project (Protected Repository of Data for Internet Cyber Threats). As part of this project, we have proposed a more flexible privacy-sensitive data-sharing framework and an experiment to test it on the UCSD network telescope instrumentation next year.

We are growing the scope of our economics and policy research. We responded to several requests from Internet governance as well as U.S. government agencies for comments and guidance on policy matters. We launched a workshop series in Internet economics, to try to begin framing a research agenda for the emerging but stunted field of Internet infrastructure economics. On the theoretical side, we published an analytically tractable model of Internet evolution at the level of Autonomous Systems (ASes), which builds on the preferential attachment (PA) model but captures fundamental differences between transit and non-transit networks. This multi-class PA model predicts a definitive set of statistics characterizing the AS topology structure, closing the “measure-model-validate-predict” loop, and providing further evidence that preferential attachment is the main driving force behind Internet evolution.

Finally, we engaged in a variety of tool development, data-sharing, and outreach activities, including web sites, peer-reviewed papers, technical reports, presentations, blogging, animations, and workshops.

Full annual report:

Program plan for 2010-2013:

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