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Three Wishes for a Future Internet? GENI Project Will Soon Be at Your Command

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  • From: "Fink, Leslie" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: Three Wishes for a Future Internet? GENI Project Will Soon Be at Your Command
  • Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 15:13:36 -0400

National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22230
"Where Discoveries Begin"

For Immediate Release

Three Wishes for a Future Internet? GENI Project Will Soon Be at Your

NSF awards tech firm BBN Technologies funds to establish GENI project office

GENI is envisioned as a set of several diverse components combined with
software management.
Credit: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation Credit and
Larger Version If the proverbial genie gave Internet users three wishes
for an improved network what would they ask for? Peace of mind about
secure financial transactions? Protection from hackers? Inventive new
applications that improve the quality of life?

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers are
working together to design a bold new research platform called GENI, the
Global Environment for Network Innovations. As envisioned, GENI will
allow researchers throughout the country to build and experiment with
completely new and different designs and capabilities that will inform
the creation of a 21st Century Internet.

Today, NSF announced that BBN Technologies, under the leadership of Chip
Elliott, has been selected to serve as the GENI Project Office (GPO).
The office will work closely with the computing research community to
create and develop the GENI design.

The creation of a project office, which received an award of $2.5
million per year for up to four years, is a major step in the NSF
process to build major research facilities and marks a key step toward
making GENI a reality.

"In a little more than 25 years, the Internet has gone from an obscure
research network to a critical piece of the national communication
infrastructure," said Deborah Crawford, acting assistant director of
NSF's Computer and Information Science and Engineering directorate. "But
an Internet fundamentally better than today's may require large-scale,
systematic research initiatives focused on the hardest scientific and
technical challenges, driven by overarching visions of how the future
might look."

"GENI will give scientists a clean slate on which to imagine a
completely new Internet that will likely be materially different from
that of today. We want to ensure that this next stage of transformation
will be guided by the best possible network science, design,
experimentation, and engineering," said principal investigator and
project director Chip Elliott of BBN.

BBN Technologies, an advanced technology solutions firm, has locations
in Cambridge, Mass., and Washington, D.C. The company has been at the
forefront of technological change for more than 50 years and is known
for pioneering the development of the ARPANET, the forerunner of the

The GENI Science Council (GSC), composed of research leaders in computer
networking, distributed systems, cybersecurity, and other related fields
will represent research-community interests by working closely with the
GSC. Together, GSC and the GPO will first carry out preconstruction
planning for the facility.

"This is a tremendous opportunity for the research community to define a
research platform that can enable breakthroughs as important as those
made in fields such as physics and astronomy, where large NSF-funded
experimental facilities have long played a crucial role," said GSC
representative. "We look forward to working with our GPO colleagues and
the community to examine the scientific, technical, economic and social
opportunities and implications GENI provides."

The idea for the GENI project dates back to an NSF workshop held in
early 2005. There, a team of researchers led by Princeton University's
Larry Peterson, envisioned that GENI would consist of a collection of
physical networking components, including links, forwarders, storage,
processor clusters, and wireless subnets. These resources are
collectively called the GENI substrate.

On top of the substrate, a software management framework will layer
network experiments on the substrate. Each experiment--there may be
thousands going on at the same time--will run in a slice of the
substrate. In concept, GENI components are programmable, which will make
it possible to embed experiments, including clean-slate designs that are
radically different from today's Internet architecture and protocols.
The virtual substrate will also allow thousands of slices to run
simultaneously, including some experimental services and architectures
that can run continuously.

And, GENI will include mechanisms that allow end users to participate in
and evaluate new, experimental services under real-world conditions.
Finally, GENI will be modular, with a well-defined architecture and set
of interfaces that will make it possible to extend GENI with new
networking technologies as they become available and maintain a dynamic
infrastructure that is continually renewed.

"GENI creates an opportunity for stunningly ambitious research," said
BBN's Elliott. "NSF's support of this initiative will ensure that
brilliant minds across the whole sweep of networking and
distributed-system research have the opportunity to try a wide variety
of innovations in a very large-scale, shared experimental environment."

Media Contacts:
Leslie Fink, National Science Foundation, (703) 292-5395,

Joyce Kuzmin, BBN Technologies, (617)

A Web version of this story with graphics is posted at


NSF-PR 07-057

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency
that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of
science and engineering, with an annual budget of $5.58 billion. NSF
funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 1,700 universities
and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 40,000 competitive
requests for funding, and makes nearly 10,000 new funding awards. The
NSF also awards over $400 million in professional and service contracts

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  • Three Wishes for a Future Internet? GENI Project Will Soon Be at Your Command, Fink, Leslie, 05/21/2007

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