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Researchers Share in $12M to Develop Network Infrastructure

Project to Support Science, Engineering Experiments

Yan Luo

By For more information, contact or 978-934-3224


Researchers from UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst are among 29 academic and corporate teams that have been awarded subcontracts totaling $12 million by BBN Technologies Corporation to build, integrate and operate the prototypes of a groundbreaking suite of network research infrastructures. 

Called GENI (Global Environment for Network Innovations), this suite is designed to support a wide range of experimental research in network science and engineering. Funds for the prototyping are provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF). BBN Technologies, an advanced technology solutions firm based in Cambridge, is the primary winner of the NSF grant.

Asst. Prof. Yan Luo of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department is spearheading prototyping efforts at UMass Lowell, while Prof. James Kurose and Assoc. Prof. Brian Levine are leading the UMass Amherst project.

Other universities and institutions that have received funding to work on GENI include Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, Princeton, Rutgers, USC, Stanford and SUNY Buffalo. Corporations that are working closely with academia include Ciena, Cisco, CNRI, Hewlett-Packard, Infinera, Microsoft Research, NEC, Netronome, SPARTA and Qwest.

As explained by Luo, GENI prototyping is conducted using a “spiral development” approach, with simultaneous development and trials giving rapid feedback to help guide evolving designs. The first spiral focuses on ways to discover, schedule and control resources for large-scale research experiments and to measure GENI capabilities. Multiple competing approaches are being funded to provide design insights for the evolving suite of experimental infrastructure. Successive spirals will refine and extend the GENI suite in response to the research community’s evolving interests in network science and engineering.

GENI will involve new architectures, protocols and data-dissemination techniques running over a substantial fiber-optic infrastructure, with next-generation optical switches, novel high-speed routers, citywide experimental urban radio networks, high-end computational clusters and sensor grids.

“All infrastructures are envisioned to be shared among a large number of individual, simultaneous experiments, with extensive instrumentation that makes it easy to collect, analyze and share real-time measurements,” says Luo. He expects the first prototypes to be up and running by mid-2009.

For more information about GENI, visit

- Edwin_Aguirre