‘Future of the Internet’ on Display at GENI Engineering Conference

GW hosts conference and student design competition.

GENI Demo Night
Demonstrators showcased more than 70 new technologies during the GENI conference's Demo Night held at Science and Engineering Hall on Tuesday. (Photo credit: U.S. Ignite)
March 27, 2015

George Washington University hosted the 22nd Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) Engineering Conference and U.S. Ignite Application Summit last week, bringing together more than 400 researchers, educators, developers and industry partners who discussed and demonstrated over 70 creative ways they are advancing research in high performance computer networking.

Supported by the National Science Foundation, the GENI program provides a virtual laboratory, or “cyber infrastructure,” for networking and systems engineering research at a global scale. It allows experimenters to obtain storage resources from locations around the world, install operating systems and custom applications on these resources, as well as access and control a host of more specialized resources that provide a virtual slice of the Internet for each experimenter.

While these types of experiments were once restricted to simulations in individual labs or small clusters of research centers, GENI facilitates wide-scale experimentation using a hardware called GENI Racks and a software interface that allows for remote programmability.

“The landscape of the Internet is changing. GENI is about advanced networking in smarter, more efficient ways,” said GW’s Director of Research Technology Services Don DuRousseau. “It’s helping researchers and engineers develop the next generation of tools they will need to build the Internet of the future.”

GENI is being developed by leading academic and industrial teams across the country and is available without charge for use by researchers at colleges and universities. GW is a GENI-enabled campus, giving students and faculty the opportunity to use some of the newest networking tools available.

On Wednesday, conference attendees explored the latest technologies being developed using GENI during a Demo Night event in Science and Engineering Hall. GENI and U.S. Ignite developers showcased 70 new applications, such as a microscope at the University of Southern California that could be controlled remotely. Students and attendees took turns viewing close-up algae specimens—even though the instrument and samples were 2,600 miles away.

In conjunction with the GENI conference, GW also hosted a student competition—sponsored by Cisco Systems—in which students from the School of Engineering and Applied Science teamed up to design and build their own applications using the GENI infrastructure.

With help from Tim Wood, an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science, the competitors had a month to learn about the resources available through the GENI network and then use those tools to build projects. The applications, which the GW students displayed at Demo Night, included, network monitoring, dynamic load balancing and prioritized flow scheduling applications.

“It informed the students about a relatively new technology and a capability that they were not familiar with,” Mr. DuRousseau said. “And now they’ll be able to keep using it to enhance their science.”

The winners from the GW student competition are:

First Place: Ph.D. students Grace Liu and Yuxin Ren (Real Time Software Defined Network Monitoring) The GENI program also offered Ms. Liu a summer internship with its office in Cambridge, Mass.

Second Place: Sophomores Neel Shah, Eric Armbrust, Phil Lopreiato and Ph.D. student Wei Zhang (Load balancing and Dynamic Topology Modification)

Third Place: Junior Katherine Stasaski, senior Lucas Chaufournier and graduate student Joel Klein (PacketMapIt)

Honorable Mention: Ph.D. student Sundaresan Rajasekaran (VIP Pass)

The GENI Engineering Conference and U.S. Ignite Application Summit was presented at GW by the Division of Information Technology, the Office of the Vice President for Research and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

(From lef) Professor Timothy Wood and student competition winners Sundaresan "Sunny" Rajasekaran, Phil Lopreiato, Neel Shah, Eric Armbrust, Wei Zhang, Katherine Stasaski, Grace Liu.