US National Science Foundation and the Future Internet Design

Darleen Fisher
Appears in: 
CCR July 2007

In spite of the current Internet’s overwhelming success, there are growing concerns about its future and its robustness, manageability, security, openness to innovation, and scalability. As the Internet has become the largest human-made system ever deployed will we retain the ability to understand or manage it? Will we find ways to secure the current Internet or will we lose the security arms race to hackers and even state-supported attackers as they become more pervasive and sophisticated? Will the Internet continue to incorporate the thousands of new wireless networks currently added daily or encompass millions of embedded sensor systems that are expected to connect to the Internet in the future? There are also increasing societal concerns such as ensuring that an Internet maintains support for an open society, a balance of accountability and privacy, and continued economic viability. Will Internet companies continue to create new services and capabilities for the current Internet or will economic factors result in “network ossification” as some researchers fear?

These are questions that concern networking and social science researchers around the world. In the United States, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has challenged the US research community to take a fresh look at the Internet by participating in the Future Internet Design (FIND) part of the Networking Technology and Systems (NeTS) program in the Division of Computer and Network Systems.