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Christopher Hannon, Illinois Institute of Technology, Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chen Chen, Argonne National Laboratory, Jianhui Wang, Argonne National Laboratory.  2018.  Combining Simulation and Emulation Systems for Smart Grid Planning and Evaluation. CM Transactions on Modeling and Computer Simulation (TOMACS) – Special Issue on PADS. 28(4)

Software-defined networking (SDN) enables efficient networkmanagement. As the technology matures, utilities are looking to integrate those benefits to their operations technology (OT) networks. To help the community to better understand and evaluate the effects of such integration, we develop DSSnet, a testing platform that combines a power distribution system simulator and an SDN-based network emulator for smart grid planning and evaluation. DSSnet relies on a container-based virtual time system to achieve efficient synchronization between the simulation and emulation systems. To enhance the system scalability and usability, we extend DSSnet to support a distributed controller environment. To enhance system fidelity, we extend the virtual time system to support kernel-based switches. We also evaluate the system performance of DSSnet and demonstrate the usability of DSSnet with a resilient demand response application case study.

Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology, Cheol Won Lee, National Research Institute, South Korea, Ping Liu, Illinois Institute of Technology.  2018.  A Comparative Study of Off-Line Deep Learning Based Network Intrusion Detection. 10th International Conference on Ubiquitous and Future Networks.

Abstract—Network intrusion detection systems (NIDS) are essential security building-blocks for today’s organizations to ensure safe and trusted communication of information. In this paper, we study the feasibility of off-line deep learning based NIDSes by constructing the detection engine with multiple advanced deep learning models and conducting a quantitative and comparative evaluation of those models. We first introduce the general deep learning methodology and its potential implication on the network intrusion detection problem. We then review multiple machine learning solutions to two network intrusion detection tasks (NSL-KDD and UNSW-NB15 datasets). We develop a TensorFlow-based deep learning library, called NetLearner, and implement a handful of cutting-edge deep learning models for NIDS. Finally, we conduct a quantitative and comparative performance evaluation of those models using NetLearner.

Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Xin Liu, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology.  2017.  Simulation of a Software-Defined Network as One Big Switch. ACM SIGSIM Conference on Principles of Advanced Discrete Simulation (ACM SIGSIM PADS).

Software-defined networking (SDN) technology promises centralized and rapid network provisioning, holistic management, low operational cost, and improved network visibility. Researchers have developed multiple SDN simulation and emulation platforms to expedite the adoption of many emerging SDN-based applications to production systems. However, the scalability of those platforms is often limited by the underlying physical hardware resources, which inevitably affects the simulation delity in large-scale network settings. In this paper, we present a model abstraction technique that e ectively transforms the network devices in an SDN-based network to one virtualized switch model. While signi cantly reducing the model execution time and enabling the real-time simulation capability, our abstracted model also preserves the end-to-end forwarding behavior of the original network. To achieve this, we first classify packets with the same forwarding behavior into smaller and disjoint Equivalence Classes (ECes) by analyzing the OpenFlow rules installed on the SDN devices. We then create a graph model representing the forwarding behavior of each EC. By traversing those graphs, we nally construct the rules of the big-switch model to e ectively preserve the original network's end-to-end forwarding behavior. Experimental results demonstrate that the network forwarding logic equivalence is well preserved between the abstracted model and the original SDN network. The model abstraction process is fast, e.g., 3.15 seconds to transform a medium-scale tree network consisting of 53,260 rules. The big-switch model is able to speed up the simulation by 4.3 times in average and up to 6.69 times among our evaluation experiments.

Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology.  2016.  A Lightweight Container-based Virtual Time System for Software-defined Network Emulation. Journal of Simulation.

Container-based network emulation offers high fidelity and a scalable testing environment to bridge the gap between research ideas and real-world network applications. However, containers take their notions of time from the physical system clock, and thus the time-stamped events from different containers are multiplexed to reflect the scheduling serialization by the Linux operating system. Conjoining the emulator and other simulators is also challenging due to the difficulties of synchronizing the virtual simulation clock with the physical system clock. Virtual time systems for network emulation shed light on both issues. In this paper, we develop a lightweight container-based virtual time system in Linux Kernel. We use time dilation to trade time with system resources by precisely scaling the time of interactions between containers and physical devices. We develop a time freezer to enable the precise pause and resume of an emulation experiment, which offers the virtual time support to interface with simulators for close synchronization. We integrate the virtual time system into a software-defined networking emulator, Mininet, and evaluate the system accuracy, scalability, and overhead. Finally, we use the virtual-time-enabled emulation testbed to conduct a case study of equal-cost multi-path routing protocol analysis in a data center network.

Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology.  2015.  VT-Miniet: Virtual-time-enabled Mininet for Scalable and Accurate Software-Define Network Emulation. ACM SIGCOMM Symposium on SDN Research.

The advancement of software-defined networking (SDN) technology is highly dependent on the successful transformations from in-house research ideas to real-life products. To enable such transformations, a testbed offering scalable and high fidelity networking environment for testing and evaluating new/existing designs is extremely valuable. Mininet, the most popular SDN emulator by far, is designed to achieve both accuracy and scalability by running unmodified code of network applications in lightweight Linux Containers. How- ever, Mininet cannot guarantee performance fidelity under high workloads, in particular when the number of concurrent active events is more than the number of parallel cores. In this project, we develop a lightweight virtual time system in Linux container and integrate the system with Mininet, so that all the containers have their own virtual clocks rather than using the physical system clock which reflects the se- rialized execution of multiple containers. With the notion of virtual time, all the containers perceive virtual time as if they run independently and concurrently. As a result, inter- actions between the containers and the physical system are artificially scaled, making a network appear to be ten times faster from the viewpoint of applications within the contain- ers than it actually is. We also design an adaptive virtual time scheduling subsystem in Mininet, which is responsible to balance the experiment speed and fidelity. Experimen- tal results demonstrate that embedding virtual time into Mininet significantly enhances its performance fidelity, and therefore, results in a useful platform for the SDN community to conduct scalable experiments with high fidelity.

Jiaqi Yan, Illinois Institute of Technology, Dong Jin, Illinois Institute of Technology.  2015.  A Virtual Time System for Linux-container-based Emulation of Software-defined Networks. ACM SIGSIM Conference on Principles of Advanced Discrete Simulation.

Realistic and scalable testing systems are critical to evaluate network applications and protocols to ensure successful real system deployments. Container-based network emula- tion is attractive because of the combination of many desired features of network simulators and physical testbeds . The success of Mininet, a popular software- defined networking (SDN) emulation testbed, demonstrates the value of such approach that we can execute unmodified binary code on a large- scale emulated network with lightweight OS-level vir- tualization techniques. However, an ordinary network em- ulator uses the system clock across all the containers even if a container is not being scheduled to run. This leads to the issue of temporal fidelity, especially with high workloads. Virtual time sheds the light on the issue of preserving tem- poral fidelity for large-scale emulation. The key insight is to trade time with system resources via precisely scaling the time of interactions between containers and physical devices by a factor of n, hence, making an emulated network ap- pear to be n times faster from the viewpoints of applications in the container. In this paper, we develop a lightweight Linux-container-based virtual time system and integrate the system to Mininet for fidelity and scalability enhancement. We also design an adaptive time dilation scheduling mod- ule for balancing speed and accuracy. Experimental results demonstrate that (1) with virtual time, Mininet is able to accurately emulate a network n times larger in scale, where n is the scaling factor, with the system behaviors closely match data obtained from a physical testbed; and (2) with the adaptive time dilation scheduling, we reduce the running time by 46% with little accuracy loss. Finally, we present a case study using the virtual-time-enabled Mininet to evalu- ate the limitations of equal-cost multi-path (ECMP) routing in a data center network.