ECE Seminar by Nik Sultana: Disaggregation and Placement of In-Network Programs




Siegel Hall, Room 118 3301 South Dearborn Street Chicago, IL 60616

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Armour College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will welcome Nik Sultana, assistant professor of computer science at Illinois Institute of Technology, to present a lecture, “Disaggregation and Placement of In-Network Programs.”


Programmable network switches and NICs are enabling the execution of increasingly rich computations inside the network using languages like P4. Today's in-network programming approach maps a whole P4 program to a single target, limiting a P4 program's performance and functionality to what a single target device can offer. Disaggregating a single P4 program into subprograms that execute across different targets can improve performance, utilization, and cost. But doing this manually is tedious, error-prone, and must be repeated as topologies or hardware resources change. This talk describes Flightplan: a target-agnostic, programming toolchain that helps with splitting a P4 program into a set of cooperating P4 programs and maps them to run as a distributed system formed of several, possibly heterogeneous targets. The talk will cover both systems and programming language aspects of this research. We'll look at evaluation results from testbed experiments and simulation. During the talk, Nik Sultana will also describe how Flightplan's design addresses practical concerns, including the provision of a distributed diagnostics interface and the mitigation of partial failures. Code, documentation, tests, a demo, and videos can be obtained from


Nik Sultana is an assistant professor of computer science at Illinois Institute of Technology. His research focuses on distributed system techniques that leverage programming theory, formal logic, and practical systems engineering. He completed his Ph.D. at Cambridge University's Automated Reasoning Group, where he worked on a compiler-based approach to proof translation. Before joining Illinois Tech, Nik postdoc'd at the UPenn Distributed Systems Lab and at the Cambridge Systems Research Group.


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