Workshop 3 Keynote

Workshop Keynote (within workshop 3): Thursday April 22, 16.45 – 17.30

When networks are programmable top-down and end-to-end: what then?

Nick McKeown,

Stanford University/Barefoot, USA


Large network owners commonly write or download the software that controls their networks, allowing them to determine how they are managed from the top level intent all the way down to how packets are processed in the forwarding plane. At some point, they will decide how packets are processed end-to-end, from user-space, through the kernel, NICs, switches and network elements. Which brings them to a place where they are fully in control of their own deeply programmable network platform. In this talk, I will talk about what they might do with this new found flexibility and control.


Nick McKeown has been a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University since 1995. In 2005, he started the Clean Slate Program at Stanford, which with Martin Casado and Scott Shenker, led to “Software Defined Networking”. He co-founded Nicira (now part of VMware), Abrizio, and Nemo (“Network Memory”, now part of Cisco), as well as ONF, ON.Lab, and He also co-founded Barefoot Networks in 2013, which was acquired by Intel in 2019, where he is now Senior Fellow. His current passion is to move the network data-plane from fixed-function hardware up and into software where it belongs. He hopes this will foster much faster innovation in networking, and finally hand over the keys to those who own and operate networks, to customize them to best suit their needs. 
Nick is a member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK). He received the British Computer Society Lovelace Medal (2005), the IEEE Kobayashi Computer and Communications Award (2009), the ACM Sigcomm Lifetime Achievement Award (2012), an Honorary Doctorate from ETH (Zurich, 2014), and the IEEE Alexander Graham Bell Medal (2021).