Optical networking forms the foundation of the global network infrastructure, hence the planning and design of optical networks is crucial to the operation and economics of the Internet and its ability to support critical and reliable communication services. This research project aims to increase greatly our ability to solve optimally a range of optical design problems. In particular, the project will develop compact formulations and solution approaches that can be applied efficiently to instances encountered in Internet-scale environments. The ultimate goal is to lower the barrier to entry in fully exploring the solution space and in implementing and deploying innovative designs. The solutions to be developed are ?future-proof? with respect to advances in dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) transmission technology, as the size of the corresponding problem formulations is independent of the number of wavelengths.

Specific outcomes include: (a) computationally efficient formulations for the routing and wavelength assignment (RWA) problem, a subproblem of many design problems; (b) scalable optimal solutions to a suite of network design problems (including traffic grooming, survivability, and impairment-aware routing) that can be applied to topologies encountered in practice; (c) investigation and characterization of limiting solutions and technology tradeoffs in the ?large W? regime that is consistent with DWDM technology trends; (d) benchmarking of existing heuristics and development of new polynomial-time algorithms that leverage the structure of optimal solutions; and (e) a set of integrated community building, research collaboration, and technology transfer activities that engage a wide range of students, including underrepresented groups in computer science.

Broader Impact: The project will develop new capabilities for the design and operation of optical networks that form the backbone of the Internet infrastructure. The proposed framework with its emphasis on scaling optimal solutions to networks of realistic size will open new directions for network design by permitting extensive ?what-if? analysis to explore the sensitivity of design decisions to forecast traffic demands, capital and operational cost assumptions, service price structures, etc. The research agenda has the potential enable a wide range of 21st century science, education, and commercial applications through the design of networks that are better optimized for user and application requirements and are less expensive to build and operate.

Optical network design is an interdisciplinary area of research for students of networking that incorporates techniques from mathematical programming, discrete optimization, and operations research. Research results will be disseminated not only through journal and conference publications, but also through participation in community building and technology transfer activities and through graduate and undergraduate education, adding to the impact of the project. Graduate students engaged in this project will be provided with a collaborative setting that will expose them to international research environments. New course material and class projects will be developed to demonstrate the fundamental concepts and to present the results of advanced research to students taking these courses. The PI will also organize workshops on specific network design themes, and follow up with an edited book that will collect the research related to optimization techniques for optical networks.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
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Joseph Lyles
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North Carolina State University Raleigh
United States
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