Back to Basics

Stanford has launched an intriguing new project — Clean Slate Design for the Internet.

We believe that the current Internet has significant deficiencies that need to be solved before it can become a unified global communication infrastructure. Further, we believe the Internet’s shortcomings will not be resolved by the conventional incremental and ‘backward-compatible’ style of academic and industrial networking research. The proposed program will focus on unconventional, bold, and long-term research that tries to break the network’s ossification. To this end, the research program can be characterized by two research questions: “With what we know today, if we were to start again with a clean slate, how would we design a global communications infrastructure?”, and “How should the Internet look in 15 years?” We will measure our success in the long-term: We intend to look back in 15 years time and see significant impact from our program.

In the spirit of past successful inter-disciplinary research programs at Stanford, the program will be driven by research projects ‘from the ground up’. Rather than build a grand infrastructure and tightly coordinated research agenda, we will create a loosely-coupled breeding ground for new ideas. Some projects will be very small, while others will involve multiple researchers; our goal is to be flexible, creating the structure and identifying and focusing funds to support the best research in clean-slate design.