Forum Numerica - Self-driving networks: Breaking new ground in network automation


ETH Zürich



Video / Presentation

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One of the main motivations behind self-driving cars is the promise of making our roads safer. Human errors indeed explain more than 90% of the car accidents nowadays. This situation bears a lot of similarities with computer networks. Today, most network operators still manage their networks manually and human errors, not equipment failures, explain the vast majority of network downtimes. These downtimes can (and often do) have devastating consequences such as: (1) preventing millions of people from accessing the Internet for hours; (2) grounding entire airline fleets; or (3) preventing emergency calls from being placed.
In this talk, I will describe our vision towards enabling "self-driving networks". Akin to a self-driving car, a self-driving network senses its environment and adapts its behavior accordingly, automatically and in real-time. While this might sound futuristic, realizing self-driving networks is now possible thanks to the recent advent of programmatic network control. I will discuss our efforts in building the first generation of self-driving networks using these new technologies, our first successes in doing so in the context of improving network availability and securing network platforms, along with future research avenues in the area.
About the speaker

Laurent Vanbever is a tenure-track assistant professor at ETH Zurich where he leads the Networked Systems Group. Prior to ETH, he was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton where he collaborated with Jennifer Rexford. He obtained his PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Louvain in 2012. His research focuses on making large network infrastructures more manageable, scalable and, secure. Laurent has won several awards for his research including multiple best paper awards and four applied networking research prizes.