Software-defined networking goes international


Robert Barker/University Photography

You never know when the work you’ve been doing might pay off, or if someone might say, “Hey, you had a really good idea there.”

For several years Nate Foster, associate professor of computer science, has been developing languages to control computer networks, enabling network managers to specify how their systems process data – which data packets go where and when – without having to rearrange cables or modify the circuits in the routers and switches that run the network. A “software-defined” network that can be redesigned as needed.

Now a worldwide group of some 60 computer scientists from industry and academia has set out to create just such a language, in an open source version to be known as P4. The P4 group has appointed Foster the leader of its steering committee and co-chair of its design group.

﷒- Bill Steele