Overcoming the Obstacles to Internet Evolution – Announcing the SEMI Workshop

One of the challenges faced by technologists interested in developing new and better ways of transferring data over the Internet is the large and growing number of devices in the network that cause connections to fail when they see something new or unexpected. These so-called ‘middleboxes’ also make it hard to add simple refinements to existing ways of delivering Internet application data. It’s as if the ‘information superhighway’ now has automated toll gates at all the major intersections and if they don’t find your registration plate where they expect to find it, then it doesn’t matter that you’re driving a car just like everyone else on the road, you aren’t going to be allowed through.

In their revealing study of the problem, Michio Honda and his co-authors found that, ‘at least 25% of paths interfered with [data] in some way beyond basic firewalling.’

In an effort to promote discussion of ways to detect and characterise the behaviour of these middleboxes, and to identify ways to work around the obstacles they present, the Internet Architecture Board is organising a workshop on Stack Evolution in a Middlebox Internet (SEMI) in January 2015, in Zürich, Switzerland.

Attendance at the workshop is by invitation only. Prospective participants are invited to submit short position papers outlining their views on one or more topics related to the scope of the workshop – read the Call for Papers (PDF). Submissions can be submitted online here. Position papers will be published on the IAB website.

Important Dates:
Submission Deadline: 31 October 2014
Notification Deadline: 17 November 2014
Workshop Dates: 26-27 January 2015

The SEMI workshop is sponsored by the Internet Architecture Board, the Internet Society, and ETH Zürich. Mirja Kühlewind and Brian Trammell of ETH Zürich are co-chairs.