Congestion control train-wreck workshop at Stanford: Call for Demos

nanditad at nanditad at
Mon Sep 3 17:28:52 UTC 2007

Congestion control train-wreck workshop at Stanford: Call for Demos

We would like to invite you to a two-day congestion control workshop,  
titled "Train-wrecks and congestion control: What happens if we do  
nothing?", which we are hosting at Stanford on 31 March - 1 April, 2008.

Spurred on by a widespread belief that TCP is showing its age and  
needs replacing - and a deeper understanding of the dynamics of  
congestion control - the research community has brought forward many  
new congestion control algorithms. There has been lots of debate about  
the relative merits and demerits of the new schemes; and a  
standardization effort is under way in the IETF.

But before the next congestion control mechanism is deployed, it will  
need to be deployed widely in operating systems and - in some cases -  
in switches and routers too. This will be a long road, requiring the  
buy-in of many people: Researchers, product developers and business  
leaders too. Our own experience of proposing new congestion control  
algorithms has been met with the challenge: "Show me the compelling  
need for a new congestion control mechanisms?", and "What will really  
happen to the Internet (and my business) if we keep TCP just the way  
it is?"

As a community, we need examples that are simple to understand, and  
demonstrate a compelling need for change. We call them the "Train  
wreck scenarios". Examples might show that distribution of video over  
wireless in the home will come to a halt without new algorithms. Or  
that P2P traffic will bring the whole network crashing down. Or that  
huge, high-performance data-centers need new algorithms. Whatever your  
favorite example, we believe that if we are collectively armed with a  
handful of mutually agreed examples, it will be much easier to make a  
business case for change. Or put another way, if we can't articulate  
compelling examples to industry leaders, then is the cost and risk of  
change worth it?

The goal of the workshop is to identify a handful of really compelling  
demonstrations of the impending train-wreck. The outcome will be a set  
of canonical examples that we will use to persuade industry of the  
need for change.

We are deliberately inviting you many months ahead of time - to give  
you time to create your compelling train-wreck demonstration. You can  
choose the way you present your demonstration: You could bring  
equipment and show a live-demo; you could show simulations or  
animations; or you could produce a video showing a real or synthetic  
demo. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to create a case that  
will persuade a mildly-technical but influential business leader of  
the need for change.

We will invite a panel of judges to give prizes for the most  
compelling examples in two categories: (1) The Overall Most Compelling  
Example, which will be judged on a combination of the technical merits  
and the presentation of the scenario, and (2) The Most Technically  
Compelling Example, which will be judged on its technical merit alone,  
without consideration of the way it is presented.

The whole purpose of the workshop it to focus on the {\em problem},  
not the solutions. We are most definitely {\em not} interested in your  
favorite scheme, or ours. So we need some ground-rules.
{\em No-one is allowed to mention a specific mechanism, algorithm or  
proposal at any time during the workshop: Not in their talk, not in a  
panel, and not in questions to the speakers. The only mechanisms that  
will be allowed mention are: TCP (in its standard and deployed  
flavors), and idealized alternatives for purposes of demonstration.  
For example, comparing TCP with an oracle that provides instantaneous  
optimal rates to each flow.}

Attendance to the workshop will be by invitation only - to keep the  
discussion focused and lively.  We will video the entire workshop and  
all the demonstrations, and make it publicly available on the  
Internet. We will make any proceedings and talks available too. The  
goal is to open up the demonstrations for public scrutiny and feedback  
after the event.

The event is hosted by the Stanford Clean Slate Program - - and local arrangements will be made  
by Nick McKeown and Nandita Dukkipati. The workshop has received  
offers of support and funding from Cisco Systems and Microsoft. We  
hope to make a limited number of travel grants available.

We have a small Program Committee (listed below) to select the final  
demonstrations. We are soliciting a 1-page description of your demo.  
Please note the following dates.

Important Dates:
Workshop: 31 March - 1 April, 2008
1-page demo description submission deadline: 1 Dec, 2007
Notification of acceptance: 15 Dec, 2007
Final demo submissions: 17 March, 2008
Last date for demo withdrawals: 25 March, 2008

Please email your initial 1-page submissions to:
Nandita Dukkipati <nanditad at> and
Nick McKeown <nickm at>

Best wishes, and we hope to see you in Stanford!

Nandita Dukkipati
Nick McKeown

Program Committee:
1. Albert Greenberg, Microsoft Research
2. Peter Key, Microsoft Research
3. Flavio Bonomi, Cisco
4. Bruce Davie, Cisco
5. Steven Low, Caltech
6. Frank Kelly, Cambridge
7. Lars Eggert, Nokia Research/IETF
8. Nick McKeown, Stanford
9. Guru Parulkar, Stanford
10. Nandita Dukkipati, Stanford/Cisco/Princeton

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