Arguments for an Information-Centric Internetworking Architecture

By: 
Dirk Trossen, Mikko Sarela, and Karen Sollins
Appears in: 
CCR April 2010

The current Internet architecture focuses on communicating entities, largely leaving aside the information to be ex-changed among them. However, trends in communication scenarios show that WHAT is being exchanged becoming more important than WHO are exchanging information. Van Jacobson describes this as moving from interconnecting ma-chines to interconnecting information. Any change of this part of the Internet needs argumentation as to why it should be undertaken in the first place. In this position paper, we identify four key challenges, namely information-centrism of applications, supporting and exposing tussles, increasing accountability, and addressing attention scarcity, that we believe an information-centric internetworking architecture could address better and would make changing such crucial part worthwhile. We recognize, however, that a much larger and more systematic debate for such change is needed, underlined by factual evidence on the gain for such change.

Public Review By: 
Kevin Almeroth

From a reviewer’s perspective, this is one of those hard papers to review. On the one hand, there are questions that the paper does not fully answer; but on the other hand, isn't it a contribution to identify questions that direct the future of the field? At the end of the day, even if the paper is controversial, if it encourages deeper thinking and if it offers a way to organize existing thinking on the topic, it has merit. Such is the case with this paper. It is successful if it generates deeper thought and more questions.
For papers that seek to enumerate research challenges, like this one, there are two important review considerations: the sufficient and necessary tests I call them. For the set of identified research challenges, first, are the items in the set sufficient, in other words, is the set complete? Are there other challenges that should be on the list but the authors failed to include? More importantly, have the authors described how they created the set in such a way that the reader is confident that the authors went through a thorough thought process to identify the set? Second, is each element of the set important? Items that are not really research challenges should not appear on the list. Authors that have created a sufficient and necessary list of research challenges through a rigorous analysis certainly have a contribution to offer.
In the reviews submitted for this paper, the reviewers included numerous probing, rhetorical questions for the authors: why was one of the challenges included and why were others excluded; was the use of a particular motivating scenario really sufficient justification; is it really reasonable to deal with some of these problems in the network versus at the edges; what is the intuition behind the proposed architecture; etc. The authors revised their paper and addressed some of these questions.
The most important consideration at the end of the day is whether the authors have encouraged further thought on next-generation internetwork architectures. In the opinion of the reviewers, they have. The real question though is whether you, the reader, will be similarly motivated.