This month Mr. Jasson Casey, a Ph.D. candidate from the Departments of Electrical Computer Engineering and Computer Science Engineering, presented, “Software Defined Networking: A Transformative Approach to Communications.” Software Defined Networking (SDN) exists to make network programming and configuration vastly simplified. To promote the SDNs, a collection of researchers and industry engineers have formed to create Flowgrammable, through which Mr. Casey serves as the Executive Director. Associate Professor Dr. Alex Sprintson from Computer Engineering and Systems Group serves as a Director and was instrumental in organizing Flowgrammable.
Flowgrammable has dedicated a portion its research to OpenFlow, which is one of modern SDN architecture’s most prominent instances. OpenFlow is a set of specifications maintained by the Open Networking Forum (ONF). At the bottom of this architecture is the switch. A switch is an abstract processing machine composed of the switch-agent and the data plane. To utilize these switches, a controller will send messages to manage and manipulate switch states.
Flowgrammable has developed the Flowgrammable SDN Stack to implement the switch. The stack supports a number of abstractions including message abstraction, message representation, protocol state machine, state machine configuration, system reaction, and application interface. To supplement this, Flowgrammable has developed 4000 directed unit tests for the message layer, python bindings, and state machine components. These tests support both negative and positive feedback.
Flowgrammable has created an entire ecosystem of content supporting the research and development of SDN online with plenty of documentation. They recently finished as a finalist in the popular ONF competition along with two other large organizations. Being that the non-profit organization has a majority of researchers, they have found that the competition has provided them with an avenue to continue making groundbreaking developments in the field. Flowgrammable has also found significance nationally being a Google Summer of Code Mentor Organization. They will mentor their first 3 students through the program in the summer.
Mr. Casey has been in the field of network communications for over 15 years, finding himself in the telecommunications industry specifically. In addition to his studies at Texas A&M University, he is a research affiliate with the Center for Secure Information Systems at George Mason University. Mr. Casey’s research has paved the way for the developments at Flowgrammable in the OpenFlow Stack. He also participates as a Research Associate in the Open Networking Foundation.