2nd NSF Workshop on Overcoming Measurement Barriers to Internet Research (WOMBIR-2)

On April 15-16, and April 20 2021, we hosted the 2nd NSF-funded Workshop on Overcoming Measurement Barriers to Internet Research (WOMBIR-2) online via a closed-session teleconference. The session will not be recorded for public rebroadcast.

Date: Apr 15 (Thu), 16 (Fri), 20 (Tue) 2021, 10:00 - 16:00 EDT (07:00 - 13:00 PDT)
Place: Closed-session Video Teleconference via Zoom

Workshop Overview

The goals of this workshop are to identify critical research questions that warrant a call for network measurement (broadly defined), identify barriers and facilitators of that research, and discuss how research results can have impact beyond the research community.

As we think about how NSF can foster a robust community of network researchers, we see a range of issues that form an arc from question through technique to impact: We have structured this workshop around a set of issues that start with the identification of critical questions that justify research, and then explores the various possible barriers to the successful execution of that research, and collective activities that might facilitate that research.

This workshop is a follow-up to the WOMBIR 2021 workshop in January. Our goal is to provide recommendations to NSF that can help overcome barriers related to measurement of Internet infrastructure. The first workshop had broad topics based on submitted white papers. In this second workshop we will go deeper into specific subjects, and generate text on those subjects that will contribute to the final report.

The structure of this workshop will be discussion sessions, each preceded by brief framing talks and followed by capturing the key points collaboratively. We will also have a third day, the following week, to read out and discuss summaries of the breakouts in a closing plenary session.

Session Outcomes

We hope that each session can answer these key questions:

  1. What are the research questions in this area that require measurement/data (intellectual merit)?
  2. What data is needed?
  3. What infrastructure is needed to collect such data?
  4. What are the greatest barriers that research can overcome (to unblock this area)?
  5. What is the broader impact in this area? (i.e., why will it matter?)
  6. What should NSF and other funding do to support research in this area?
  7. What is the role of other government actors in this area?

Some sessions have additional questions specific to that session.

Workshop Chairs

  • David Clark (MIT)
  • John Heidemann (USC)
  • kc claffy (CAIDA/UC San Diego)

Steering Committee

  • Mattijs Jonker (U Twente)
  • Fabian Bustamante (Northwestern University)
  • David Clark (MIT)
  • John Heidemann (USC)
  • kc claffy (CAIDA/UC San Diego)


The three day workshop will be April 15, 16 (Thursday, Friday) with a follow up on April 20 (Tuesday) day 3, every day starting at 10am EDT and ending at 4pm EDT (7am PDT - 1pm PDT).

April 15 (Thursday)

  • 10:00 EDT (07:00 PDT) Opening Plenary

    Framing Talks: kc claffy (CAIDA / UC San Diego), Ellen Zegura (Georgia Tech), Monisha Ghosh (FCC / University of Chicago)
    Moderator: Ellen Zegura (Georgia Tech)

  • 10:20 EDT (07:20 PDT) Session 1: Understanding properties of Internet access: deployment, adoption, performance, pricing

    • Additional questions for session 1:
      • (extend question 4) Does the social impact of this topic make it particularly relevant to NSF? If so, how should that influence their choices?
      • (extend questions 4 and 5) This topic in particular involves relationships between multiple government agencies. How can NSF work with other relevant agencies?
  • 10:50 (07:50 PDT) EDT Breakout discussion

  • 11:35 EDT (08:35 PDT) Writing notes for Day 3 report to plenary

  • 11:50 EDT (08:50 PDT) Break

  • 12:00 EDT (09:00 PDT) Session 2: Advancing Longitudinal Internet Research

    Framing talks: Ethan Katz-Bassett (Columbia University), Mark Allman (ICSI)
    Moderator: kc claffy (CAIDA / UC San Diego)

    • Additional questions for session 2:
      • How can NSF (and our community) advance support for longitudinal research, in light of NSF’s goal to transition research away from needing NSF support?
      • Which properties of Internet infrastructure are a priority for longitudinal tracking?
      • Which other questions merit investment into longitudinal data collection?
      • How does the community select what longitudinal research it values?
      • How can the community incentivize these long-term data collection efforts? https://cra.org/resources/best-practice-memos/evaluating-computer-scientists-and-engineers-for-promotion-and-tenure/
      • How should NSF evaluate the strength of a given longitudinal activity, and how (often) should they review and renew these activities?
      • How can NSF foster small-scale (individual PI, individual student) longitudinal efforts? E.g., Maintenance funding with an easier submission process and significant consideration for the impact of the previous project. Summer REUs/fellowships to productionize existing measurements.
  • 12:20 EDT (09:20 PDT) Discussion

  • 13:05 EDT (10:05 PDT) Writing notes for Day 3 report to plenary

  • 13:20 EDT (10:20 PDT) 60 minute break

  • 14:20 EDT (11:20 PDT) Session 3: Mobile and Wireless Measurement Challenges

    Framing talks: Kaushik Chowdhury (Northeastern University), Chunyi Peng (Purdue University), Aaron Schulman (UC San Diego)
    Moderator: Kaushik Chowdhury (Northeastern University)

  • 14:50 EDT (11:50 PDT) Discussion

  • 15:35 EDT (12:35 PDT) Writing notes for Day 3 report to plenary

  • 16:00 EDT (13:00 PDT) End Day 1

April 16 (Friday)

  • 10:00 EDT (07:00 PDT) Opening Plenary/Ice Breakers/What Did I learn from Day 1

  • 10:30 EDT (07:30 PDT) Session 4: The Role of Data Disclosure Control Technology in Enabling Internet Research

    Framing talks: Scott Jordan (UC Irvine), Simson Garfinkel (ACM)
    Moderator: David Clark (MIT)

    • Additional questions for session 4:
      • What are the legal barriers to gathering and sharing data?
      • Enumerate specific research questions and implication of GDPR/CCPA
  • 10:50 EDT (07:50 PDT) Discussion

  • 11:35 EDT (08:35 PDT) Writing notes for Day 3 report to plenary

  • 11:55 EDT (08:55 PDT) 50 minute break

  • 12:45 EDT (09:45 PDT) Session 5: Compounding Trends Toward Invisibility of Infrastructure

    • This session will have five parallel breakouts. For each breakout, please try to:
      • clearly articulate the transparency challenges
      • propose positive directions that might help
    • Breakouts:
      • Access: Home, Developing world (vantage points)
        Moderators: Ellen Zegura (Georgia Tech), David Clark (MIT)
      • Mobile/wireless
        Moderator: kc claffy (CAIDA / UC San Diego)
      • Cloud/ISP
        Moderator: John Heidemann (USC)
      • Layer2/optical
        Moderator: Fabian Bustamante (Northwestern University)
      • Encryption/protocols, e.g., TLS, DOH
        Moderator: Mattijs Jonker (U Twente)
  • 13:15 EDT (10:15 PDT) Breakout discussion

  • 13:45 EDT (10:45 PDT) Writing notes for Day 3 report to plenary

  • 13:55 EDT (10:55 PDT) 50 minute break

  • 14:45 EDT (11:45 PDT) Session 6: Industry / academia / government Collaboration and Roles

    Framing talks: Matt Calder (Microsoft / Columbia), Avi Freedman (Kentik)
    Moderator: David Clark (MIT)

    • Additional questions for session 6:
      • Enumerate research questions where industry may have incentive to contribute data.
      • (how) Can we get industry/academia collaboration to grow beyond 1:1 relationships?
      • How well have prior industry / academia collaborations fostered by NSF worked? (Ex: the NSF cloud initiative)? Are these a vehicle to foster measurement-based research?
      • What lessons can we learn from previous attempts to support industry sharing with researchers, e.g., IMPACT.
      • How can NSF facilitate best practices for standard terms and conditions for collaboration?
  • 16:00 EDT (13:00 PDT) End Day 2

April 20 (Tuesday)

  • 10:00 EDT (07:00 PDT) EDT Opening Plenary/Ice Breakers

    Breakout Summaries by Sessions Leaders

  • 10:15 EDT (07:15 PDT) Summary Session 1 and 5A: Ellen Zegura, David Clark

  • 10:30 EDT (07:30 PDT) Summary Session 2: Ethan, Mark Allman, David Choffnes

  • 10:45 EDT (07:45 PDT) Summary Session 3: Kaushik Chowdhury, Chunyi Peng, Aaron Schulman

  • 11:00 EDT (08:00 PDT) Summary Session 4: Scott Jordan

  • 11:20 EDT (08:20 PDT) Summary Session 5B: kc claffy, Aaron Schulman

  • 11:25 EDT (08:25 PDT) Summary Session 5C: John Heidemann

  • 11:30 EDT (08:30 PDT) Summary Session 5D: Fabian Bustamante

  • 11:45 EDT (08:45 PDT) Summary Session 5E: Mattijs Jonker

  • 11:50 EDT (08:50 PDT) Summary Session 6: Matt Calder, Avi Freedman

  • 12:05 EDT (09:05 PDT) Open discussion of all topics, synergies and opportunities

  • 13:00 EDT (10:00 PDT) 60 minute break

  • 14:00 EDT (11:00 PDT) Contribute to workshop report and recommendations

  • 15:00 EDT (12:00 PDT) End Day 3


National Science Foundation (NSF)
Funding for the WOMBIR workshop is provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant CNS-2111828 Workshop on Overcoming Measurement Barriers to Internet Research.

Additional Content

Participants: WOMBIR-2

This page contains the list of participants of WOMBIR-2 in April 2021.

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