Prof. Ram Durairajan Receives the Prestigious NSF CAREER Award

Assistant Professor Ram Durairajan has won the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The CAREER award is the NSF's most prestigious award in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The five-year grant of $530k will support Dr. Durairajan's project titled Argus: Measurement-informed Learning Approach to Managing Multi-cloud Networks.

Future of enterprise networking is multi-cloud, but getting there is not easy

Multi-cloud networks are federations of private network infrastructures from the distinct cloud and third-party providers, and serve as increasingly vital underlays for a range of application domains (e.g., genomics, healthcare, high performance computing). Unfortunately, this emerging connectivity paradigm poses significant management barriers to enterprises that seek to deploy overlays and applications due to providers' distinct operational practices, privacy concerns, egress costs, among others. Dr. Durairajan's CAREER project will investigate a novel measurement-informed learning-based framework called Argus to significantly lower the management barriers faced by modern enterprises. Specifically, the project will focus on scientific inquiries in three synergistic thrusts to realize the Argus framework. First, it will design calibrated measurement tools and techniques, using which enterprises can gain unprecedented visibility into the federated underlays. Second, adhering to the privacy concerns of providers, it will investigate learning-based modeling capabilities, using which enterprises can accurately infer, localize, and attribute performance bottlenecks to appropriate providers. Third, it will take a principled approach to design a management capability, using which enterprises can effectively and efficiently navigate egress costs and operational goals while avoiding inferred performance bottlenecks.

Potential impacts of this project

This project will lower multi-cloud management barriers, enhance the operational productivity of enterprises, and foster breakthroughs in the aforementioned domains and beyond. These will have significant impacts on the economy and society. The research will be tightly integrated with education, emphasizing experiential learning. Activities include inviting underrepresented students from Lane Community College to participate in a mini-research experience, organizing virtual summer schools on project-related topics, involving undergraduates in research, and developing a curriculum on multi-cloud networks. The activities will catalyze community engagement and result in a globally competitive STEM workforce with the necessary skills in this emerging area.

About Prof. Ram Durairajan

Dr. Durairajan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science, and co-directs the Oregon Networking Research Group (ONRG) at the University of Oregon. Dr. Durairajan's research vision is to create a "robust Internet" by taking a measure-and-then-build approach. To this end, Dr. Durairajan and his students are developing innovative techniques and tools to empirically measure the network infrastructures; and building systems informed by measurements to address intrinsic threats (e.g., DDoS attacks) and extrinsic threats (e.g., climate change and naturally occurring disasters).

Dr. Durairajan has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in various conferences, workshops, and journals. As the Principal Investigator, he has been leading teams of graduate and undergraduate students in federal, university, and industry-sponsored R&D projects totaling over $3 Million. His research has been recognized with several awards including the NSF CAREER award, NSF CRII award, Ripple faculty fellowship, UO faculty research award, best paper awards from ACM CoNEXT and ACM SIGCOMM GAIA, and has been covered in several fora (NYTimes, MIT Technology Review, Boston Globe, among others). Recently, Dr. Durairajan's Internet topology research has been named as "One of the 100 Greatest Innovations" and has won several awards including the UW-Madison CS Department "Graduate Research Award" for best dissertation research and the "Best of What's New" (in the security category) by the Popular Science Magazine.