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Department of Computer Science and Technology

San Jose, California, USA, April 3rd, 2019. The NetFPGA project was awarded today the ACM SIGCOMM SOSR System Award. The award recognises the development of a software system that has had a significant impact on SDN research, implementations, and tools.

The NetFPGA is an open platform enabling researchers and students to build high-speed, hardware-accelerated networking systems. The platform is used by researchers to prototype advanced services for next-generation networks. It is also used in the classroom to teach students how to build network devices, such as Ethernet switches and Internet Protocol (IP) routers. The platform combines both hardware (boards) and software (embedded, tools and applications), together with reference designs and community contributed projects.

Originally developed for teaching at Stanford in 2002 and becoming widely available in 2003, NetFPGA has developed a large community of over 1200 users, using more than 3500 cards, at over 300 universities, in over 60 countries across 6 continents. Alongside supporting academic teaching and research, NetFPGA sees use and contributions from professional research community with over 50 active corporate-based contributors.

The prominent early success of  NetFPGA has been its contribution to OpenFlow, which in turn reignited the Software Defined Networking movement. By providing a widely available open-source OpenFlow development platform capable of line-rate operation, NetFPGA was, until commercial uptake, the reference hardware platform for OpenFlow.

In recent years, NetFPGA was increasingly used for the prototyping of programmable data planes, and it currently offers the only open-source hardware target for P4 programs (previously through P4FPGA, and nowadays using the P4->NetFPGA framework).

NetFPGA has been used for the implementation of over 500 research projects, and to date has been referenced in over three thousand publications.

The NetFPGA project is academically led by the Universities of Cambridge and Stanford, supported by generous donations from Xilinx, Micron, Cypress and Linear Technologies and generous support from  the National Science Foundation, DARPA, the Research Council UK through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Council, and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

"The CTO Office at Xilinx has been involved in the open source NetFPGA project since its inception. In particular, the Xilinx University Program has ensured that the NetFPGA family – featuring multiple generations of Xilinx FPGAs over the years – has been successfully used by academic researchers and teachers. Xilinx Labs has also had direct technical involvements, ranging from NetFPGA board and shell design on the hardware side, to P4→NetFPGA tool flow development on the software side. Xilinx is very happy to see this well-deserved award, which reflects the great impact of NetFPGA worldwide on research and teaching using FPGA-based software-defined networking." - Gordon Brebner, Distinguished Engineer, Xilinx Labs

"Cypress is pleased to continue its support for the NetFPGA project and its valuable training and research work in areas including Cyber Security at the Edge and in the Cloud," said Patrick Kane, director of the Cypress University Alliance, Cypress. "Our relationship with the NetFPGA has spanned over 12 years and has included providing world-class Cypress semiconductor solutions for all versions of the NetFPGA platform."

Published by auto on Sunday 31st March 2019