As the network has evolved to include more functionality, applications have increasingly adopted the use of communication libraries both to augment and to replace the traditional network stack and API. This is because the traditional stack was designed for common but fixed functionality, whereas applications today demand rich features, including encryption, serialization, and new communication patterns. Unfortunately, the ecosystem of communication libraries is ad-hoc and thus limits libraries’ mutual composability and portability outside of specific deployment environments. In this talk, we argue that to resolve these shortcomings, we need an extensible and runtime-reconfigurable network stack. We propose a design for such a stack, and prototype our design in a system named Bertha. We demonstrate the generality and benefit of our design using three application case-studies.


Akshay Narayan is a PhD student at MIT advised by Hari Balakrishnan and Mohammad Alizadeh. His research interests are in computer systems and networking. Specifically, he works on ways for applications to evolve alongside modern networks as they become increasingly dynamic. He has received the Best Artifact award from Eurosys, the Best Student Paper award from SIGCOMM, the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Jacobs Presidential Fellowship. More at https://akshayn.xyz