CAIDA’s Annual Report for 2010

May 17th, 2011 by kc

[Executive Summary from our annual report for 2010.]

This annual report covers CAIDA’s activities in 2010, summarizing highlights from our research, infrastructure, data-sharing and outreach activities. 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 continue to make progress on our Internet topology research agenda, supported by the expanding Ark measurement infrastructure. We collect and 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 by the end of 2010, 15 of our hosting sites provided IPv6 connectivity and topology measurements. We are still improving existing techniques and developing and testing new technology for IP address alias resolution for large Internet graphs, and will release a paper and implementation of our algorithms in 2011. Using these new techniques, we collected, analyzed, processed and released three Internet Topology Data Kit (ITDK) Datasets, reflecting measurements taken in January, April, and July 2010. Each 2010 ITDK includes two related router-level topologies, router-to-AS assignments; geographic location of each router; and DNS lookups of all observed IP addresses. We will be augmenting ITDKs with additional meta-data in 2011.

On the theoretical side of topology research, we developed a geometric model to study the structure and function of complex networks. This model assumes one of our discoveries last year, that hyperbolic geometry seems to underlie many complex networks. If true, then the heterogeneous degree distributions and strong clustering that characterize so many complex networks emerge naturally as simple reflections of the negative curvature and metric property of the underlying hyperbolic geometry. The mathematically inclined will appreciate another accomplishment this year — we established a mapping between our geometric framework and the statistical mechanics of complex networks.

Our study of real-world Internet topology has always enriched our routing research agenda, a long-term objective of which is to enable dramatically more scalable global Internet routing. We are still exploring the ramifications of our exciting discoveries regarding greedy routing on networks with underlying hyperbolic metric spaces. This year we showed that this type of routing can be maximally efficient and remarkably robust even in the face of damage to the network topology. While motivated by Internet routing, we spent the past year investigating applications of this work to other disciplines: physics, biology, chemistry, and economics. The most challenging part of this routing research as it pertains to the Internet still lies ahead, and will require a broader community of engaged thinkers: application of these and other theoretical results to real-world Internet security, economic, and policy contexts.

We continue to expand our economics and policy research agenda. In 2010 we received our first (NSF NetSE-Small) research grant dedicated to the economics of transit and peering interconnections in the Internet. Despite much recent interest in the economic aspects of the Internet, such as network interconnection (peering), pricing, performance, and the profitability of various network types, two historical developments contribute to a persistent disconnect between economic models and actual operational practices on the Internet. First, the Internet became too complex – in traffic dynamics, topology, and economics – for currently available analytical tools to allow realistic modeling. Second, the data needed to parameterize more realistic models is simply not available. The problem is fundamental, and familiar: simple models are not valid, and complex models cannot be validated. In 2010 we began an exciting project to pursue progress in both dimensions: creating more powerful, empirically parameterized computational tools, and enabling broader validation than previously possible.

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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