Programming Line-Rate Routers

Date: 4:00pm, March 24, 2016
Location: CS Conference Room
Speaker:  Anirudh Sivaraman is a graduate student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

Abstract: Historically, the evolution of network routers and switches has been  driven primarily by performance. Recently, thanks in part to the  emergence of large data centers, the need for better control over  network operations, and the desire for new features, programmability  of switches has become as important as performance. In response,  researchers and practitioners have developed reconfigurable switching chips that are performance-competitive with line-rate fixed-function  switching chips. These chips provide some programmability through restricted hardware primitives that can be configured with software 

This talk will focus on two abstractions for programming such chips.  The first abstraction, packet transactions, lets programmers express  packet processing in an imperative language under the illusion that  the switch processes exactly one packet at a time. A compiler then  translates this sequential programmer view into a pipelined implementation on a switching chip that processes multiple packets  concurrently. The second abstraction, a push-in first-out queue, allows programmers to program new scheduling algorithms using a priority queue coupled with a program to compute each packet's  priority in the priority queue. For the first time, these two  abstractions allow us to program several packet-processing functions at line rate. These packet-processing functions include in-network  congestion control, active queue management, data-plane load  balancing, network measurement, and packet scheduling.

This talk includes joint work with collaborators at MIT, Barefoot Networks, Cisco Systems, Microsoft Research, Stanford, and University of Washington.

Biography:  Anirudh Sivaraman is a graduate student in MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He is broadly interested in computer networking and his recent research work focuses on software abstractions and hardware primitives for programmable line-rate routers.
Hosted by Professor Vishal Misra

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