Workshop Overview

State-of-the-art networks require state-of-the-art methodologies to understand and secure them, and use them efficiently. Our SoNIC-enabled (software defined network interface) networks are a crucial enabling step. With SoNIC-enabled networks we can control the entire networking stack in software that allows us a view into todays high-speed networks that connect modern cloud computing data centers and the Internet itself. Over the weeklong workshop, participants will understand the networking stack from photons of lambda (fiber-optic) networks to the Internet Protocol to application performance. Participants will takeaway an appreciation for network research with Cornell faculty and a taste to do research with state-of-the-art facilities at a top institution like Cornell University.

Cornell Chronicle article on 2011's SoNIC Workshop


  • When: June 12 - June 16th, 2017
  • Where: Cornell University
  • Cost: Fully Covered (Travel, Lodging, Meals, etc)

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: Friday, March 3rd, 2017
  • Notification of Participation: Wednesday, March 15th, 2017 Tuesday, March 21st, 2017.
    We apologize for the notification delay. We had a blizzard in the northeast that caused a delay in processing applications.
  • SoNIC Workshop: June 12 - 16th, 2017

Developed by Professor Hakim Weatherspoon in collaboration with Howard University's Computer Science Chair Legand Burge and Professors Nicki Washington and Jiang Li.

The primary goal of this weeklong workshop will be increased exposure and enhanced research capabilities for participants. Undergraduates will get research experience and a taste of what it is like to be researchers; graduate students and faculty will conduct cutting edge research using state of the art equipment and methodologies.

Summer workshop participants will:

  • Conduct network research with a faculty research mentor
  • Give a short oral presentation and/or written report at the end of the workshop that may lead to a publication
  • Participate in exit interviews and surveys to improve the curriculum


Datacenters of commodity components have emerged as the computing platform of choice for a wide variety of applications, ranging from blunt content delivery to more advanced complete in-browser document and spreadsheet processing. In fact, this paradigm has been so successful that it has driven datacenters to becoming a commodity themselves. It's as easy as ordering one online and having it shipped to any location. These datacenters in a box typically come already set up with commodity hardware and software; all you need to do is plug the power, data and potentially cooling and flip the switch. This great ease is ushering in the global network of datacenters paradigm.

Naturally, having multiple datacenters at various distant geographical locations raises the next challenge coordinating them as part of a single global distributed system.

Interconnecting the datacenters via high bandwidth, large latency links like optical fiber networks is a viable option today. Interconnecting datacenters over distant geographical locations can be usually done via high bandwidth, optical fiber networks. Already laid down dark fiber is cheap and can be acquired in bulk making private lambda networks a reality.

Although the raw bandwidth is cheap, these networks experience some level of packet loss due to cabling, equipment, dirty or degraded fiber and other glitches. Eliminating the packet loss altogether on such links is not an option the general belief is that non congestion packet loss is unavoidable for various reasons like transient malfunctions, poorly configured equipment and dirty or degraded optical fiber.

The SoNIC Summer Research Workshop will help you will help you not only understand this new world, but enable you to do network research within it.

Cornell National LambdaRail Rings testbed

Cornell Systems and Networking

Diverse research styles unified by a theme: We build real systems in a principled way, yielding useful technology and foundational insights.

Ken Birman

Andrew Myers

Fred Schneider

E. Gun Sirer

Robbert van Renesse

Hakim Weatherspoon

World Class Research

  • Distributed
    • Cloud Computing
    • Storage
  • Trustworthy
    • Secure Fault-Tolerant
    • Extensible Operating Systems
    • Inline Ref Monitors
  • Scale
    • Peer-to-peer
    • Astrolabe
    • CoDNS

Well Funded

  • NSF, NSA
  • Military (DARPA, Air Force)
  • Industry (Microsoft, Intel, Cisco, etc.)

Extensive Facilities

  • Systems Lab
  • Simulation and Emulation
  • Cornell National Lambda Rail (NLR) Rings testbed
  • Linux and Windows clusters
  • Emulab, PlanetLab


Sophomore, Junior, Senior, or Masters student in Computer Science (CS), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Physics, or Math.


If you are interested in applying for the SoNIC Summer Research Workshop, please submit your application .