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New to GENI?

The Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI) is a suite of network research infrastructure now in its design and prototyping phase. It is sponsored by the National Science Foundation to support experimental research in network science and engineering.

GENI Overview

Network Science and Engineering research challenges us to understand networks broadly and at multiple layers of abstraction from the physical substrates through the architecture and protocols to networks of people, organizations, and societies. The intellectual space surrounding this challenge is highly interdisciplinary, ranging from new research in network and distributed system design to the theoretical underpinnings of network science, network policy and economics, societal values, and the dynamic interactions of the physical and social spheres with communications networks. Such research holds great promise for new knowledge about the structure, behavior, and dynamics of our most complex systems – networks of networks – with potentially huge social and economic impact.

As a concurrent activity, community planning for the suite of infrastructure that will support NetSE experiments has been underway since 2005. This suite is termed the Global Environment for Network Innovations (GENI). Although its specific requirements will evolve in response to the evolving NetSE research agenda, the facility’s conceptual design is now clear enough to support a first spiral of planning and prototyping. The core concepts for the suite of GENI infrastructure are as follows.

• Programmability – researchers may download software into GENI-compatible nodes to control how those nodes behave;

• Virtualization and Other Forms of Resource Sharing – whenever feasible, nodes implement virtual machines, which allow multiple researchers to simultaneously share the infrastructure; and each experiment runs within its own, isolated slice created end-to-end across the experiment’s GENI resources;

• Federation – different parts of the GENI suite are owned and/or operated by different organizations, and the NSF portion of the GENI suite forms only a part of the overall “ecosystem”; and

• Slice-based Experimentation – GENI experiments will be an interconnected set of reserved resources on platforms in diverse locations. Researchers will remotely discover, reserve, configure, program, debug, operate, manage, and teardown distributed systems established across parts of the GENI suite.

As envisioned in these community plans, the GENI suite will support a wide range of experimental protocols, and data dissemination techniques running over facilities such as fiber optics with nextgeneration optical switches, novel high-speed routers, city-wide experimental urban radio networks, high-end computational clusters, and sensor grids. The GENI suite is envisioned to be shared among a large number of individual, simultaneous experiments with extensive instrumentation that makes it easy to collect, analyze, and share real measurements.

Technical introduction

  • System overview - A high-level, narrative overview of the shape of the GENI suite of infrastructure. pdf (Sept08)
  • Architectural tutorial - At the 1st GENI Engineering Conference, John Wroclawski gave a very nice tutorial on the GENI architecture which is available as a QuickTime movie. (Oct07)
  • Design goals. pdf (June06)

How is GENI being planned and prototyped?

  • Project plan - An introduction to the GENI Project Office (GPO) and development approach planned for GENI. pdf (Sept08)
  • Spiral development - GENI is being prototyped through "spiral development", with Spiral 1 now underway. See GENI Spiral 1.
  • Working groups - GENI's technical design takes place in open, transparent GENI working groups

Research supported

  • Discussion of how GENI will be used for research and some requirements for the suite of infrastructure. pdf (Sept06)

See also