ACM Grace Murray Hopper Award
United States – 2012

For his work creating the movement of Software Defined Networking (SDN), a new paradigm in the research and practice of computer networking that provides a software alternative to hardware-based network components.

Effective network management requires the ability to easily modify the configuration of network components, such as IP routers, Ethernet switches, and load balancers. Innovation in networking requires that the research community have the ability to design and deploy new features autonomously and independently of vendors. The need for these capabilities has long been experienced with hardware-based network components. In addition, cloud computing has virtualized computing and storage, but had a requirement for virtualized networking to replace the physical network. Casado's outstanding contribution has been to provide a solution: a new, software-based alternative to hardware-based network components. This alternative consists of an approach that encompasses an open interface API (OpenFlow), and open-source software components, such as the OpenVswitch switch, and the NOX and ONIX SDN controllers. These innovations have been readily and widely adopted by industry in a relatively short period of time. These innovations have also spawned a large and growing SDN research community that promises to utterly change the field.

Press Release

Martin Casado And Dina Katabi Named 2012 Recipients Of The Grace Murray Hopper Award For Advances In Network Efficiency


Martin Casado helped create the Software Defined Networking (SDN) movement, an approach that provides a software alternative to hardware-based network components. He introduced an open interface (OpenFlow) and open-source software components, which uncouple the network from its hardware. This level of abstraction creates virtual networks that are able to deliver the same features as physical networks, but with the operational flexibility of virtualization. These innovations, readily and widely adopted by industry, have spawned a burgeoning SDN research community with the potential to change the field. Casado was Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Nicira, which was acquired by VMware in 2012. He is currently the Chief Network Architect of VMware as well as a consulting assistant professor at Stanford University.
Dina Katabi initiated a new approach to network design using an explicit Control Protocol (XCP) that minimizes network congestion and maximizes utilization efficiency. Her research addressed a strategic technological problem of Internet growth, which requires extreme scalability and robustness.  She developed XCP, an algorithm to ensure fair allocation of capacity among different flows that compete for the same Internet bandwidth. Her scheme is the first protocol to achieve both goals simultaneously without imposing excessive per-flow overhead on Internet routers. The design separated the efficiency and fairness policies of congestion control, which delivered the highest possible application performance over a broad range of network infrastructure. Katabi is a professor at MIT and a member of its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). She leads the NetworksMIT research group, and is director of WirelessMIT, the MIT center for wireless networks and mobile computing.