This article is published in the September 2009 issue.

NetSE Council Announces Networking Research Agenda

The Network Science and Engineering (NetSE) Council of CRA’s Computing Community Consortium, led by Georgia Tech’s Ellen Zegura, released an agenda for networking research at the GENI Engineering Conference in Seattle in late July.

CCC charged the NetSE Council with developing a comprehensive research agenda that would support the development of better networks. Through a series of workshops and a tremendous amount of community input, the NetSE Council evolved the current draft. “Literally hundreds of researchers contributed to the agenda—by participating in workshops, authoring sections, and reviewing the overall document,” says Zegura. “While probably no one endorses every word, this deep engagement speaks to the entire research community’s appreciation of the importance of ratcheting up networking research, and better supporting experimental efforts, long-term foundational efforts, and interdisciplinary efforts.”

The NetSE Research Agenda includes four major recommendations:

  • The funding agencies of the United States government must increase investment in research that will lead to a better Internet or risk a marginal future role.
  • Funding agencies should rebuild the experimental capabilities of networking researchers, through funding individual systems-building efforts, providing adequate and persistent shared experimental infrastructure, and supporting research that leads to continued improvements in experimental methodology. Experimental work is expensive and long-term; typical NSF awards are insufficient, therefore either NSF will need to change its award portfolio or other agencies will have to play a significantly increased role.
  • Funding agencies should foster and support research activities relevant to network design within the theoretical computer science community, the new Network Science community, and other theoretical disciplines.
  • Funding agencies should support a broad array of interdisciplinary research activities related to understanding the current Internet and designing future networks to include the Internet.
  • The NetSE Research Agenda is not an endpoint, according to Zegura, but a “living document” that is meant to evolve over time. It is intended to serve as a framework or structure within which various research communities can advocate and pursue specific topics.

More information on the NetSE effort and the full version of the report are available at, which also includes an email address for commenting on the report.

NetSE Council Announces Networking Research Agenda