EE PhD Student Maulik Desai Wins Best Paper Award

January 14, 2010

EE PhD student Maulik Desai received a best paper award at IEEE Second International Conference on Communication Systems and Networks (COMSNETS). The paper was entitled "Coping with Link Failures in Centralized Control Plane Architectures". The conference had an acceptance rate of 20%. This paper was coauthored with Dr. Thyaga Nandagopal (Bell Labs, Alcatel-Lucent Inc US).

The paper focuses on centralized control plane network architectures. These architectures emphasize on maintaining a centralized control plane in a network, instead of having routers make their own control decisions. In such a network routers could be replaced with the switches that would have the least amount of intelligence available on them. The control plane functions of these switches could be handled by a centralized authority such as a general-purpose server that could be located multiple hops away from the switches. Since the switches do not have too much intelligence on them, an event like a link failure could generate routing loops in the network or it could even form islands where a group of switches lose connectivity with their controller. The paper proposes an algorithm that mitigates the adverse effects of a link failure, and prevents the switches from forwarding unnecessary traffic towards the failed link without violating the basic premises of having the least amount of intelligence available on the switches. The performance of this algorithm was verified by implementing it on a network built with OpenFlow switches.

Maulik Desai is doing his doctoral research with Prof. Nick Maxemchuk of Electrical Engineering at Columbia University.