Departmental Papers (CIS)

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version

February 2004

Comments

Copyright 2004 IEEE. Reprinted from IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, Volume 34, Issue 1, February 2004, pages 4-18.
Publisher URL: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?isNumber=28230&puNumber=5326

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Abstract

All distributed computing systems face the architectural question of the location (and nature) of programmability in the telecommunications networks, computers, and other peripheral devices comprising them. The perspective of this paper is that network elements should be as programmable as possible, to enable the most flexible distributed computing systems.

There has been a persistent confluence among operating systems, programming languages, networking and distributed systems. We demonstrate how these interactions led to what is called "active networking", and in the spirit of "vox audita perit, littera scripta manet" (the spoken word perishes, but the written word remains), include an account of how it was made to happen. Lessons are drawn both from the broader research agenda, and the specific goals pursued in the SwitchWare project. We speculate on likely futures for active networking.

Keywords

communication system software, communication systems, programming operating systems, protocols

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Date Posted: 16 November 2004

This document has been peer reviewed.