The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Professor Michael Zink of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department collaborated with 13 other researchers from UMass Amherst and four additional universities on two winning papers during the Workshop on Computer and Networking Experimental Research Using Testbeds at the International Conference on Computer Communications (INFOCOM), as staged by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers in May. A Best Paper award went to “A Framework to Enable Runtime Programmable P4-enabled FPGAs in the Open Cloud Testbed.” A second paper – “Experiments on Network Services for Video Transmission using FABRIC Instrument Resources” – took home a Best Paper Runner-up.

In addition to Zink, Zhaoyang Han, Miriam Leeser, and Suranga Handagala of Northeastern University and Kalyani Patle of UMass Amherst contributed to the Best Paper. Their paper presents a framework for cloud users who wish to specify their experiments in the P4 language and map them to field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) in the Open Cloud Testbed, which consists of P4-enabled FPGA nodes that are directly connected to the network via 100-gigabit Ethernet connections and support runtime reconfiguration.

“Cloud users can quickly prototype and deploy their P4 applications through our framework, which provides the necessary infrastructure, including a network-interface shell for the P4 logic,” as the authors explain. “By combining an existing network-interface shell and P4 toolchain on FPGAs, we offer a framework that enables users to rapidly execute their P4 experiments in real time on FPGAs.”

The collaborators for the runner-up paper are: Alicia Esquivel Morel, Durbek Gafurov, and Prasad Calyam from the University of Missouri – Columbia; Cong Wang, Komal Thareja, and Anirban Mandal from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; George Papadimitriou and Ewa Deelman from the University of Southern California; and Zink and Eric Lyons from UMass Amherst.

As these researchers explain about their paper, video-based applications form one of the most popular applications on the Internet that is continually evolving. There is a need to develop novel network services that enable reliable video transmission over network paths with dynamic cross-traffic, as well as services that utilize programmable-data planes enabled by Protocol-independent Packet Processors (e.g., P4).

According to the researchers, “In this paper, we describe experiences in developing network services for reliable video transmission using resources from the FABRIC network instrument, which supports high-performance edge/cloud as well as programmable networking infrastructure.”

FABRC offers a set of equipment that is distributed internationally at commercial collocation spaces, national labs, and campus.

“Specifically,” say the researchers, “we deploy a programmable network using local Ethernet (Layer 2) sites, as well as geographically distributed, wide-area network (LAN extension) sites in FABRIC, in order to experiment with visual-cloud-computing-application-use cases.” (July 2023)

Article posted in Research