March 8 – 11 , 2020, Dagstuhl Seminar 20112

RESCHEDULED Compute-First Networking

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this seminar was rescheduled to June 13 – 16 , 2021Seminar 21243.


Jon Crowcroft (University of Cambridge, GB)
Philip Eardley (BT Applied Research – Ipswich, GB)
Dirk Kutscher (FH Emden, DE)
Eve M. Schooler (Intel – Santa Clara, US)

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Computing and Networking are normally conceived as related but technically and culturally different areas. Distributed computing is typically implemented in overlays, treating the network as a pipe for shifting bits between computers. Networking, on the other hand, is typically oblivious to application and distributed system requirements, which often leads to suboptimal performance, robustness, and limited flexibility.

Newer technological developments such as fine-granular virtual computing, programmable data planes and concepts for slightly more powerful forwarding planes on the (network) infrastructure side and functional programming, efficient data structure replication and data set reconciliation on the distributed programming side could enable new ways for integrating computing and networking, going beyond mere packet flow manipulation in Active Networking and similar approaches.

This Dagstuhl Seminar is intended to explore the potential of integrating computing and networking that we call Compute-First-Networking (CFN). One of the CFN promises could be to overcome the performance and data privacy/security limitation of current cloud-based distributed applications. In the CFN vision, “compute” will become integrated into the network and storage fabric: network nodes will provide secure processing and storage for third party application and network functions, using a “Functions as a Service” or “serverless” programming paradigm readily accessible to application developers and third-party service providers.

Potentially, this approach can enable a new level of permissionless innovation where application providers and users can re-purpose and extend the available infrastructure without barriers, by developing and deploying new functions and applications in very short turn-around times.

This seminar brings together researchers and engineers from multiple relevant domains, including networking, distributed computing, security, and economics. The goal of the seminar is to begin a dialogue between the communities, to explore the potential as well as potential issues of a synthesis, and to formulate a research agenda that can help to investigate and validate the “Compute-First Networking” idea in follow-up research.

Motivation text license
  Creative Commons BY 3.0 DE
  Jon Crowcroft, Philip Eardley, Dirk Kutscher, and Eve M. Schooler

Related Dagstuhl Seminar


  • Data Structures / Algorithms / Complexity
  • Networks


  • Networking
  • Distributed systems
  • In-network computing
  • Edge-computing


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