Never Waste a Mid-Life Crisis: Change for the Better

Jennifer Rexford


Creating a better Internet—a global communications infras- tructure that is more secure, reliable, performant, flexible, and so on—is one of the grand challenges of our time. Yet, making substantive change to such a large, distributed, op- erational network is inherently difficult. This position paper argues that the networking research community should come together and adopt a sort of “ambitious pragmatism” that tackles the big problems while identifying the practical steps to take along the way. The community can work together to (i) identify and precisely formulate the main problems we need to address, (ii) more deeply understand a diverse array of practical constraints (including business drivers, economic incentives, government policies, and more), and (iii) create new deployment platforms and institutional structures to en- able good research ideas to “cross the chasm” to deployment.

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