IFIP/IEEE International Symposium on Integrated Network Management
17-21 May 2021 // Bordeaux, France
Virtual Conference

Panel Sessions

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

PA1: Do network engineers dream of full automation ?

17:00-18:30 (CEST UTC/GMT +2)

Nikos Anerousis, IBM, USA

Christian Jacquenet, Orange Labs, France

Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks, USA

Marina Thottan, Nokia - Bell Labs, USA

Panel Moderator: Prosper Chemouil, Cnam, France


The Internet has become the global infrastructure that supports a wide range of service offerings. As these services not only grow in variety but also in complexity, their design, delivery and operation have become a subtle yet complex alchemy that often requires various levels of expertise. Most of these services have been deployed for the past three decades primarily based on static service production procedures that are more and more exposed to the risk of erroneous configuration commands, among others.

Multi-service, multi-protocol, multi-technology convergent and dynamically-adaptive networking environments have therefore become one of the major challenges faced by service providers.

The diversity and the complexity of these services have been raising technical challenges for many years, from both design and operational perspectives, fed with the idea of programmable networking that was introduced about 3 decades ago. The emergence of Software-Defined Networking as well as Network Functions Virtualization that has often been the opportunity to make debatable promises about their so-called flexibility or their intrinsic ability to facilitate the automation of service delivery procedures.

But reality is much different.

Claimed automation is currently mostly restricted to the elaboration and the execution of configuration scripts, which reflect the application of decision-making procedures that remain manually declarative. In addition, this rather embryonic automation framework mostly deals with tasks that remain local to a device to the detriment of a global, network-wide, systemic view that would be able to guarantee the global consistency of the set of actions taken to design, deliver and operate a service.

Network automation is actually way more polymorphic.

So what would it take to make the network automation dream come true? Or do early SDN/NFV deployments already promise a nightmare?

This industry panel aims at exploring some of the challenges of network automation. Discussions between the panelists and the audience will address the following topics:

  1. Understand requirements. The management of service orders is hardly automated, besides the works conducted by the TM Forum and the Metro Ethernet Forum for the past couple of years. For example, Intent-Based Networking (IBN) techniques have been introduced a few years ago to facilitate the expression of requirements and constraints that will be eventually derived into a set of configuration instructions. The basic concept of IBN corresponds to the vision of “Don’t tell me what to do! Tell me what you want”. Can IBN apply to complex services like those provided by network slices? What’s the status of IBN anyway besides the academic work?
  2. Migrate. Introducing automation techniques in networks cannot be done overnight. In particular, legacy techniques will not be decommissioned in the blink of an eye. Which suggests a thorough elaboration of migration strategies: how should SDN/NFV computation logics behave with legacy gear? How can legacy techs affect the enforcement of such strategies? What’s the impact on resource allocation cycles, dynamic policy enforcement schemes, etc.? how long will the old world and the new world have to coexist? Will the old world eventually disappear? And if not, how does the old world limit the benefits of network automation?
  3. Set the controls for the heart of the network. How do we handle the deluge of data collected that enables the proper estimation of network conditions? How machine learning methods could help in network engineering and operations? What are the feedback mechanisms that can guarantee that what has been delivered complies with what has been negotiated, as per the outcomes of an IBN-based process? To what extent, Artificial Intelligence techniques are mature enough to address real situations? What if there’s some discrepancy between what’s delivered and what was expected? How long will it take before the network automation system and its computation logic react/adjust? And at what cost (performance, scalability, robustness)? What about the DevOps approach? Did it really improve the automation of network operation yet? What can DC providers’ and network operators’ communities learn from each other? How management frameworks like Kubernetes foster the automation of network operation? What about new approaches like Weave Works’ GitOps that claim to simplify Kubernetes management, albeit the deployment of the latter remains embryonic?
  4. Humans matter more than ever. What’s the cost of network automation on organizations? How to keep control of the automated delivery procedure at every stage of the process, from the dynamic, IBN-based, service parameter negotiation framework to the allocation of properly configured resources? Is automation the tolling bell of network engineer jobs?


Nikos Anerousis currently leads the network project services practice at IBM, focusing on implementations of software-defined networking, private 5G and Edge computing for IBM's enterprise clients. He received the diploma in EECS from the National Technical University of Athens in 1990 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University in 1991 and 1996, respectively. From 1996 to 1999 he was with AT&T Bell Laboratories and AT&T Labs-Research, conducting research on network architectures and management of the early Internet, including early work on network programmability. From 1999 to 2003 he was the CTO of Voicemate, a venture-funded company that pioneered mobile voice authoring technology. From 2003 to 2016 he was with IBM Research in various staff and management positions working on distributed middleware, service management, analytics, and automation. He has a long history of contributions in network and services management and is a frequent participant in the IM and NOMS conferences.

Christian Jacquenet graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Physique de Marseille, a French school of engineers. He joined Orange in 1989, and he’s currently the Referent Expert of the “Networks of the Future” Orange Expert community. Until recently, he was the Director of the Strategic Program Office for advanced IP networking within Orange Labs. He is also the head of Orange’s IPv6 Program that aims at defining and driving the enforcement of the Group’s IPv6 strategy and which yielded the deployment of IPv6 networks and services in most European and African Orange affiliates since 2010. He leads development activities in the areas of network automation (including SDN, automated service delivery procedures combined with Artificial Intelligence techniques, intent-based networking), and IP networking techniques. He authored and co-authored several Internet standards in the areas of dynamic routing protocols and resource allocation techniques, as well as numerous papers and books about IP multicast, traffic engineering and automated IP service delivery techniques. He also holds 20+ patents in the areas of advanced home and IP networking techniques.

Currently SVP and Engineering CTO at Juniper Networks, Kireeti Kompella was formerly CTO at Contrail Systems, and before that, CTO and Chief Architect of JunOS at Juniper Networks. Dr. Kompella has deep experience in Packet Transport, large-scale MPLS, VPNs, VPLS, and Layer 1 to Layer 3 networking. Kireeti participates in the IETF, as past chair of the CCAMP Working Group and as author of several RFCs. His responsibilities have evolved from a Network OS (Junos) to routing protocols to standards work; but now turns to network-wide considerations, including 5G networks. His focus currently is on Self-Driving Networks and the application of Machine Learning to achieve experience-first networks. Prior to Juniper, Kireeti worked on file systems at NetApp (wafl), SGI (xfs/xlv), and ACSC (acquired by Veritas). Dr. Kompella received his BS EE and MS CS at IIT, Kanpur, and his PhD in Computer Science at USC, specializing in Number Theory and cryptography.

Marina Thottan joined Bell Labs Research in 1999, and has contributed to a wide variety of projects, including Content Distribution, Routing protocols, Data over Optical networks, High Speed Router Design, Network Management and Anomaly Detection. Most recently she has been leading work on Network Orchestration, Network Slicing, and 5G Security. She is a Bell Labs Fellow and an IEEE Fellow. Marina received a Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Rensselaer in 2000. She has published extensively and holds several patents in the area of network technologies. She is co-author of the book “Communication Networks for Smart Grids: Making Smart Grids Real” and has also Co-edited a book on “Algorithms for Next Generation Networks”.


Prosper Chemouil is an Adjunct Senior Researcher in the "Networks & IoT Systems" (ROC) at Cedric, Cnam in Paris, France. He received the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in control theory from École Centrale de Nantes, in 1976 and 1978, respectively. He is retired of Orange Labs, the R&D Unit of the Orange Group, where he was a Research Director and Chief Scientist on Future Networks. In his last position, he was the Expert Program Leader on Future Networks for the whole Orange Group. His research interests are with the design and management of new networks and technologies and their impact on network architecture, traffic engineering and control, and performance, with significant involvement in standardization at ITU-T for 25 years. For several years, he has been then focusing on cognitive management and network softwarization. In 2016, he has become the Co-Chair of the IEEE SDN Initiative and is now a member of the IEEE ComSoc Industry Communities Board and Industry Outreach Board, representing the SDN/NFV/Cloud area.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

PA2: Research Challenges in Artificial Intelligence for Network Management (joint panel with NMRG)

9:00-10:30 (CEST UTC/GMT +2)

Rolf Stadler, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Imen Grida Ben Yahia, Orange, France

Mohamed Faten Zhani, École de Technologie Supérieure Montreal, Canada

Albert Cabellos, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain

Panel Moderator: Jérôme François, INRIA Nancy, France


Artificial Intelligence is one of the defining technologies of our age, enabling myriads of novel applications. Networking in general, and network management in particular, is one of the areas that stands to benefit with the promise to handle more efficiently the complexity of networks and alleviate the latency human-based operations. Over last years, multiple AI-based solutions have been proposed to address network management problems in various use cases and relying on on different technologies. The flexibility of network brought from their softwarization paves the way for a higher level of automation where the AI power will certainly play a role. On one hand, real-time analysis of various events at network, service and application level will be necessary to fastly react and automate processes. On the other hand, network with the aim of very low latency and high throughput can accelerate AI. However, in comparison with other communities like speech recognition or image processing with well-established methods, models and datasets and above clear identified problems and objectives in the area of AI, the network management community appears more scattered. Identifying the right set of challenges to be addressed in our domain is essential in order to promote an AI specifically tailored to network management.

In this panel, we will discuss the challenges that are actually specific to our domain in regards to AI and possible orientations to address them. To exploit the full A.I.'s potential, many fundamental questions still need to be answered. These include, for example:

  1. Is AI really suitable for networking and network management ?
    • What networking and management problems AI can AI solve better than other approaches? Are there even meaningful problems to solve?
    • How much about all this is hype, in which areas will we see disappointments where A.I. may fall short of expectations?
    • What advances in AI are required to unlock more potential applications in network management?
    • Can requirements for determinism and explainability be sufficiently reconciled with existing constraints of AI? Can AI be accepted to replace years of human expertise and finely tailored procedures in production environment?
    • Is AI compatible with network constraints? Real-time constraints of network vs processing time of AI? Can the network support AI at line rate while still doing its normal operations?
    • Are there barriers that will be difficult for AI to overcome?
  2. How to build network- or network management-specific AI ?
    • How can networks better support the needs of AI applications? For example, is there a need for new management protocols or new data models to better “feed” and interact with AI systems ?
    • What network and management attack vectors does the application of A.I. introduce? For example, what types of problems could poisoned or biased datasets used to train AI applications introduce? How can these new vectors be counteracted ?
    • Given that processing resources in a network are limited and given that network management is inherently distributed, what are the ramifications on AI architectures? Will specialized AI architectures for NM be needed; for what applications; how will they be characterized ?
  3. How AI can be accommodated with "external" factors ?
    • Given that many networking services are regulated, are there regulatory or legal ramifications ?
    • What about AI and Internet neutrality ?
    • Is our privacy endangered by AI from a networking perspective ?
    • Will there still be humans in the loop and what will be their role ?
  4. How the network management community can progress in this area ?
    • Why the transfer from academic style research to industry is so low ?
    • What are the position roles for research, solution development and deployment ("industry players") ?
    • Do we need standards and open source ?

These and other questions will be explored by the panelists.


Rolf Stadler is a professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, and head of the Division of Network and Systems Engineering. He holds an M.Sc. degree in mathematics and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Zurich. Before joining KTH in 2001, he held positions at the IBM Zurich Research Laboratory, Columbia University, and ETH Zürich. His group made contributions to real-time monitoring, resource management, and automation for large-scale networked systems. His current interests include intelligent monitoring techniques and data-driven methods for network engineering and management. Rolf Stadler has been Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Transactions on Network and Service Management (TNSM) 2014-2017.

Imen Grida Ben Yahia is Program Manager/Tech Lead at Orange. She is leading a transverse program on AI and Networks covering several key topics such as Predictive Network Maintenance, Network Traffic Classification, Network configuration Mining, Cyber Security, Smart Energy Consumption, Network Data Ops, etc.). Her main mission is to ease the transformation and empowerment of networks with AI, this includes technical and organizational strategies definition, identification of key network use cases and associated suitable machine Learning/deep learning techniques as well as best practices for capitalization.

She is also researcher and machine learning practitioner with expertise in Predictive Network Maintenance techniques, Intent based networking and Network configuration mining to ensure resiliency and stability of network and services.

Imen is leading the Network Intelligence Initiative within the IEEE COMSOC Framework. She is public speaker in several AI&Network related events. Imen received her PhD degree in Telecommunication Networks from Pierre et Marie Curie University in conjunction with Télécom SudParis in 2008.


Mohamed Faten Zhani is an associate professor with the department of software and IT engineering at l’École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS Montreal) in Canada. His research interests include future Internet architectures, cloud computing, network function virtualization, software-defined networking and resource management in large-scale distributed systems. Faten has co‑authored several book chapters and research papers published in renowned conferences and journals including IEEE/IFIP/ACM CNSM, IEEE/IFIP IM/NOMS, IEEE INFOCOM, IEEE transactions on cloud computing and IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications (JSAC). He delivered more than ten keynote speeches in renowned conferences and workshops in the last couple of years. He also served as the general or technical program chair of several international workshops and conferences. He is also co-editor of the IEEE Communications Magazine series on network softwarization and management, associate editor of the IEEE Transactions of Network and Service Management, Wiley international journal of network management, and managing editor of the IEEE softwarization newsletter. He is co‑founder and vice-chair of the IEEE Network Intelligence Emerging Technology Initiative and a cluster lead at the IEEE P1916.1 SDN/NFV Performance standard group. Faten recently received the IEEE/IFIP IM 2017 Young Researchers and Professionals Award as a recognition for outstanding research contribution and leadership in the field of network and service management. More details are available on his web page.

Jérôme François obtained a Ms. degree in computer science and received his Ph.D. on robustness and identification of communicating applications from the University of Lorraine, France in December 2009. He was then appointed as research associate at the University of Luxembourg in the. In March 2014, he started as research scientist at Inria in the RESIST team (former MADYNES) and supports the team leader, Isabelle Chrisment, as deputy leader. His main research area are focused on the use of data analytics techniques for security as well as the definition of software-based network monitoring probes both at the data and control planes. In 2019, he received the IEEE Young Professional award in Network and Service Management. He is in charge of different international collaborations of the research team with the University of Luxembourg and the University of Waterloo in Canada. In addition to publications, he started as associate Editor-in-Chief of Wiley IJNM (International Journal of Network Management) and as co-chair of NMRG (Network Management Research Group) at IRTF (Internet Research Task Force) in 2019.

PA3: Intelligent Management of Future Industrial Networks

17:00-18:30 (CEST UTC/GMT +2)

Luca Foschini, University of Bologna, Italy

Marie-Jose Montpetit, Concordia University, Canada

Thomas Schmidt, Hamburg University, Germany

Panel Moderator: Cedric Westphal, Futurewei, USA


5G networks will deploy many new network services such as ultra-reliable low latency (uRLLC), massive Machine-type communications (mMTC) and enhance Mobile Broadband (eMBB). These in turns will significantly impact how industrial networks are deployed, managed and operated.

Industrial networks have evolved from serial bus towards more complex systems, and are converging towards IT. However, they are networks with specific protocols, constraints and requirements. Currently, the main protocols are EtherNet/IP, Profinet, EtherCAT, Powerlink, Modbus-TCP and others. However, wireless networks are becoming more and more deployed, growing 30% year on year over the last few years. This evolution will only accelerate when 5G will be deployed.

Industrial networks have stringent requirements in scale, delays, security and amount of bandwidth. In particular, these networks require deterministic network to ensure low latency and reliable delivery of packets. The 802.1 TSN family of protocol, and the IETF DetNet working groups are initial answers to these requirements. More are needed, especially to provide low latency packet delivery over distributed and heterogenous networks. The bandwidth generated by industrial sensor networks will also increase exponentially.

We aim to explore how such diverse and wide range of applications can challenge how to manage future industrial networks & internetworking technologies. It involves research in protocols, architectures, security, and algorithms. We aim to discuss the challenges that new networking technologies bring to the management of industrial networks.

The panel will examine the issues underlying the management of new industrial networks and protocols. Panelists will represent the different sides of the argument. Specifically, panelists will debate whether industrial network management requires innovation beyond current protocols; whether new protocols are required; what are the new trends, challenges and shortcomings in managing industrial networks today; what is the competitive landscape; whether work at the networking layers will be sufficient to address newly emerging challenges and issues that emerging industrial applications are faced with; what are the challenges for service level management, i.e. guarantees for high-precision services; what is the impact on monitoring/measurement (are the existing techniques enough, what else is required?); does network convergence play a role here, or would we expect to manage industrial network deployments still separate from other networks?


Luca Foschini, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Distributed and Mobile Systems at the Computer Science and Engineering Dept. (DISI) of the University of Bologna. He has been habilitated as Full Professor in the national examination called Abilitazione Scientifica Nazionale 2020. His research interests span from from context-aware service composition to federated cloud resource management, from mobile crowdsensing to scalable online stream processing for smart cities, from edge computing management in Industry 4.0 to design and performance assessment of Industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms. His research has been sponsored by local regional funds and industrial companies, and he is currently involved in various EU H2020 projects. He has been Visiting Expert Researcher in Brazil at UDESC State University of Santa Catarina. He is a Senior Member of IEEE and a Member of ACM. Within IEEE ComSoc, Prof. Foschini is a voting member of the EMEA Board, and he is also volunteering as EMEA Awards Committee/Young Researcher Award Program Chair.

He has published over 200 conference and journal papers in these areas, receiving best paper award recognitions from various IEEE ComSoc technically sponsored conferences, such as ICC’18, ISCC’19, and CAMAD’19, and highly-cited paper mentions in IEEE journals. From the point of view of his publication record (Google Scholar – April 2021: h-index=31; i10-index=85; citations=4692), he has co-authored more than 60 international journal/magazine articles (in publication venues that are considered the excellent ones in his research field, such as IEEE COMST, ACM CSUR, Proceedings of the IEEE, IEEE TNSM, IEEE TC, IEEE TETC, IEEE TCC, IEEE TPDS, IEEE JSAC, IEEE ComMag, and IEEE WCM), guest-edited 5 special issues in international journals/magazines, co-authored 5 chapters in international books, and 130+ additional works published in other international venues (conferences, workshops etc.) such as CCGrid, ISWC, Globecom, ICC, and ISCC. He has served as General Co-Chair and as TCP Co-Chair for several IEEE conferences, and as reviewer for several IEEE, Elsevier, and Wiley journal venues; he is also member of the Editorial Boards of IEEE Networking Letters, IGI IJHCR and IJARAS, and Hindawi IJDSN and WCMC.

For a longer CV, please refer to: http://www.lia.deis.unibo.it/Staff/LucaFoschini/pdfDocs/shortCV_English.pdf

Dr. Marie-José Montpetit is an Associate Professor at Concordia University in Montreal and an internationally recognized consultant in network architecture, distributed systems and IoT. Her pioneering work on Social, Wireless and Multi-screen television is recognized world wide and has been rewarded by a Motorola Technology Prize in 2007 and a MIT Technology Review TR10 in 2010. Her current main interests are on the convergence of networking and computing and on artificial intelligence for data driven applications. Dr Montpetit is the chair of 2 IRTF research groups in network coding,NWCRG, and computing in the network (COINRG) . She has been invited to present at three TEDx presentations and is a technology reviewer at the European Union and has been general or TPC chairs in many conferences. She recently authored a chapter in an upcoming book in 6G technologies on in-network computing. She holds a Ph.D in EECS from the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and shares her time between in Boston, USA and Montreal, Canada.

Thomas C. Schmidt is professor of Computer Networks and Internet Technologies at Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, where he heads the Internet Technologies research group (iNET). Prior to moving to Hamburg, he was director of a scientific computer centre in Berlin. He studied mathematics, physics and German literature at Freie Universitaet Berlin and University of Maryland, and received his Ph.D. from FU Berlin in 1993. Since then he has continuously conducted numerous national and international research projects. He was the principal investigator in a number of EU, nationally funded and industrial projects as well as visiting professor at the University of Reading, U.K.. His continued interests lie in the development, measurement, and analysis of large-scale distributed systems like the Internet. He serves as co-editor and technical expert in many occasions and is actively involved in the work of IETF and IRTF. Together with his group he pioneered work on an information-centric Industrial IoT and the emerging data-centric Web of Things. Thomas is a co-founder of several large open source projects and coordinator of the community developing the RIOT operating system - the friendly OS for the Internet of Things.

Dr. Cedric Westphal is a Principal Research Architect with Futurewei working on future network architectures, both for wired and wireless networks. His current focus is on next generation Internet. He was an adjunct assistant, then associate professor with the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2009 to 2019. Prior to Futurewei, he was with DOCOMO Innovations from 2007 to 2011 in the Networking Architecture Group focusing on next generation network architectures. He was at Nokia Research Center (now Nokia Bell Labs) from 2000 to 2007. He has received a MSEE in 1995 from Ecole Centrale Paris, and a MS (1995) and PhD (2000) in EE from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1997 to 2000, he was a visiting researcher at Stanford University. Cedric Westphal has authored and coauthored over a hundred journal and conference papers, including several best paper awards at conferences such as IEEE ICC’11, IEEE ICNC’18, IEEE MuSIC’16 and others. He has been awarded over thirty patents. He has received the IEEE Communication Society Technical Achievement Awardin 2018 from the IIN Technical Committee to “recognize a lifelong set of outstanding technical contributions in the area of information infrastructure and networking.” He was an area editor for the ACM/IEEE Transactions on Networking, an assistant editor for (Elsevier) Computer Networks journal, and a guest editor for Ad Hoc Networks journal and ACM/IEEE JSAC. He has served as a reviewer for the NSF, GENI, the EU FP7, INRIA, and other funding agencies; he has chaired the technical program committee of several conferences, including IEEE ICC (NGN symposium), IEEE NFV-SDN or IEEE IPCCC, and he was the general chair for IEEE INFOCOM 2016. He is a senior member of the IEEE.