Has it come to this? Has spyware, viruses, denial of service attacks, lack of transaction security, identity theft and all the rest made the Net such an workable place that it's time to wipe the slate clean? The National Science Foundation has proposed an initiative called Global Environment for Networking Investigations, or GENI, according to the IDG News Service.
GENI is fundamentally based on the notion that incremental change - such as upgrading from IPv4 to IPv6, as all federal agencies are being required to do (for more on that, see this GAO white paper) - will not get the Internet where it needs to be 15 or 20 years hence. "I'm not at all picking on the Internet--the Internet does what it does well," IDG quotes MIT's David Clark, who is consulting with NSF on GENI. "But there are some things where you say, 'That doesn't work right'."
NSF is cautioning the project is still in the idea phase, without even a funding request. "It's a very, very preliminary" proposal," Randy Vines, NSF spokesman told IDG. "As I understand it, this could be years in the making," he says. "There isn't a budget request for it or anything yet. [The NSF is] just trying to get community involvement in the idea so far."
According to the project's website:
The GENI Initiative will support research, design, and development of new networking and distributed systems capabilities by:
- Creating new core functionality: Going beyond existing paradigms of datagram, packet and circuit switching; designing new naming, addressing, and overall identity architectures, and new paradigms of network management;
- Developing enhanced capabilities: Building security into the architecture; designing for high availability; balancing privacy and accountability; designing for regional difference and local values;
- Deploying and validating new architectures: Designing new architectures that incorporate emerging technologies (e.g., new wireless and optical technologies) and new computing paradigms enabled by pervasive devices;
- Building higher-level service abstractions: Using, for example, information objects, location-based services, and identity frameworks;
- Building new services and applications: Making large-scale distributed applications secure, robust and manageable; developing principles and patterns for distributed applications; and
- Developing new network architecture theories: Investigating network complexity, scalability, and economic incentives.