Internet Systems Lab (ISL)

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We design and implement systems targeted at the Internet. All our projects have been driven by two major questions:

  • How do we make the Internet easy to manage? This question is motivated by the fact that designing and managing large networks often involves complex policies (e.g., security, QoS, fault tolerance). Design today is largely ad-hoc. By many estimates a large portion of the IT budget of organizations is driven by the need to manage networks, with configuration errors and design faults often accounting for a large fraction of cyber-attacks.
  • How do we ensure high quality of experience for Internet applications? On the one hand, latency of web applications is critical, and by many estimates even hundreds of milliseconds of latency can impact business revenue and user engagement. On the other hand, we are seeing a rapid proliferation of video traffic on the Internet with the rapid growth of Internet Television, with high quality video necessary for user retention. Yet, achieving high quality of experience is challenged by the proliferation of mobile devices and cellular technologies, while technologies such as cloud computing offer new opportunities.

Tackling these questions leads us to work in and make innovations in a number of areas such as Network Verification and Synthesis, Software Defined Networking, Cloud Computing, Content Delivery Networks, and Mobile Systems. Our projects involve designing new algorithms and systems, and often involve use of tools such as optimization and machine learning. Yet, we place a central emphasis on working prototypes, empirical methods, and data-driven analysis. Our research has benefited by support from NSF, Cisco, Google, NetApp, AT&T, and Microsoft , and many of our projects have involved collaboration with these organizations. Many of the challenges we address are motivated by real-world experience, require insights into operations of networks at scale, are great fun, and can change the world!

Lab News:

August 2020: Our recent paper, Pitfalls of data-driven networking: A case study of latent causal confounders in video streaming was presented at ACM SIGCOMM 2020 Workshop on Network Meets AI & ML (NetAI 2020).

August 2020: Our recent paper, PCF: Provably Resilient Flexible Routing was presented at ACM SIGCOMM 2020.

May 2020: Yun deposits his Ph.D thesis on Characterizing and Optimizing Internet Video Streaming, and will be taking up a position at Google, Mountain View. Congratulations, Dr. Nam!

February 2020: Our recent paper, Exploring the interplay between CDN caching and video streaming performance was featured in an internal Cisco blog. (link).

August 2019: NSF grant awarded on Designing Networks for Stringent Performance Requirements

July 2019: Yiyang deposits his Ph.D thesis on Ensuring Network Designs meet Performance Requirements under Failures, and will be taking up a position at ByteDance, Seattle. Congratulations, Dr. Chang!

May 2019: Sanjay gives a research seminar at RISELab, Berkeley, on work done by Purdue ISL

October 2018: Our paper, Understanding Video Management Planes was presented at ACM IMC, 2018 [PDF]. Congratulations, Yun!

August 2018: NSF grant awarded on Optimizing Internet video through support from the network edge

August 2018: NSF Formal Methods in the Field grant awarded on Transplanting Syntax-Guided Synthesis to Computer Networks

July 2018: Sanjay gives an invited talk on work done by ISL on mobile web latency at the Microsoft Research workshop "At the bleeding edge of Intelligent Edges"

August 2018: Our paper, Oboe: Auto-tuning video ABR algorithms to network conditions was presented at ACM SIGCOMM, 2018 [PDF]. Congratulations, Yun!

October 2017: Our paper, NutShell: Scalable Whittled Proxy Execution for Low-Latency Web over Cellular Networks presented at ACM MOBICOM, 2017 [PDF]. Congratulations, Ashiwan, Chuan and Yun!

March 2017: Our paper, Robust validation of network designs under uncertain demands and failures presented at USENIX NSDI, 2017 [PDF]. Congratulations, Yiyang!

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