Rutgers Team Wins Juniper/Comcast SDN Throwdown Competition

Pictured (l to r): Sumit Maheshwari, Aayush Shah and Mohit Sheth. Photo:mm photodesign

A WINLAB/ECE team led by doctoral student Sumit Maheshwari, along with master's students Aayush Shah and Mohit Sheth, won first place at the recent Juniper Network and Comcast SDN Throwdown competition. The challenge involved implementing a software defined network (SDN) controller that maximizes flow throughput in a disrupted network scenario. 

At the start of the competition, eight teams participated with the finalists, convening at the Juniper OpenLab in Bridgewater. Among the finalists—Rutgers, Columbia, NYU, Santa Clara, and UC Boulder—Rutgers prevailed by developing a system called "NOVA: Network Optimization via Automation." NOVA addresses network congestion and failures by enabling the system to choose the best available network path based upon network statistics and reliability.

According to Maheshwari, the impact of external factors such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and other disruptors can be analyzed to optimize the network by obtaining real-time and historical data using SDN.

"If there is physical fiber link passing through the flood-prone zone and we have the reliability statistics of that link from the historical data, while assigning the path we can weigh that link a little lower and thereby avoid the Shared Link Risk Groups (SLRG) probability," says Maheshwari.

The winning team received an opportunity to donate $5,000 on behalf of Rutgers to a STEM-focused non-profit organization. 

"We chose Verizon Foundation for the donation as it is focused on improving in-school technical programs, including access to 5G, and supports urban as well as rural communities by exposing students to skill-building activities such as advanced networking, machine learning and Augmented Reality (AR)," says Maheshwari.