Tech Talk: Frenetic: A Network Programming Language

  • Date  Time
  • Speaker
  • Location

Galois is pleased to host the following tech talk.
These talks are open to the interested public–please join us!
(There is no need to pre-register for the talk.)

Please note the unusual time for this talk,
it is on Thursday, 15 December 2011.

Frenetic: A Network Programming Language

Nate Foster

Thursday, 15 December 2011, 10:30am


Galois Inc.

421 SW 6th Ave. Suite 300,

Portland, OR, USA

(3rd floor of the Commonwealth building)


The languages used to program networks today lack
modern features. Programming them is a complicated task, and
outages and infiltrations are frequent. We believe it is time to
develop network programming languages with the following
essential features:

  • High-level abstractions that give programmers direct control
    over the network, allowing them to specify what they want the
    network to do without worrying about how to implement it.

  • Compositional constructs that facilitate modular reasoning
    about programs.

  • Portability, allowing programs written for one platform to be
    used with different devices.

  • Rigorous semantic foundations that precisely document the
    meaning of the language and provide a basis for building formal
    verification tools.

The Frenetic language addresses these challenges in the context
of OpenFlow networks. It combines a streaming declarative query
sub-language and a functional reactive sub-language that,
together, provide many of the features listed above. Our
implementation handles many low-level packet-processing details
and keeps traffic in the “fast path” whenever possible.

Nate Foster is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at
Cornell University. The goal of his research is developing
high-level programming abstractions and tools for building
reliable software systems. Specific topics of interest include
language design and implementation, data management, networking,
and security. He is the recipient of a PhD in Computer Science
from the University of Pennsylvania, an MPhil in History and
Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University, and a BA in
Computer Science from Williams College. His work on bidirectional
programming languages was awarded the Morris and Dorothy Rubinoff
award for outstanding dissertation from Penn in 2009.