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2011-2012 Colloquium Series: Syed Ali Khayam

Title:Revisiting Network Security Research and Teaching using Software-Defined Networking

Syed Ali Khayam

School of EECS, National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST), Pakistan


Software Defined Networks (SDNs) hold the promise to accelerate innovation in networking research and products. OpenFlow is the protocol specification that has allowed SDN to become a reality. The OpenFlow protocol allows networking gear to have logically distinct control and data planes. As a consequence, a data plane switch can operate at wire speeds on merchant silicon, while new or modified versions of existing protocols can be implemented in the control plane software. In this talk, I will discuss the evolution and fundamentals of OpenFlow and the use cases that are driving the OpenFlow movement. I will also explain how we are using OpenFlow for credible and repeatable network security research. Finally, I will talk about a new undergraduate computer networks course at NUST, in which students use OpenFlow to build real-world network applications.


Syed Ali Khayam received a PhD degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan State University in December 2006 under the “amazing” supervision of Prof. Hayder Radha. Since February 2007, he has been serving as an assistant professor at the School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (SEECS), National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Pakistan. At NUST, he is the founding director of the Wireless and Secure Networks (WiSNet) Research Lab at NUST-SEECS []. His research interests include network design, performance modeling, network/information security, cross-layer design, and multimedia communications. Dr. Khayam has over 70 publications in some of the most prestigious conferences and journals in his areas of interest. He has received academic research awards from Nokia Research, Korean Research Foundation and Pakistan National ICT R&D Fund. He has also received industrial research awards from Tellabs, Nokia-Siemens Networks and Marvell Technologies. He currently has 5 patents pending at USPTO, some of which were indigenously drafted and filed by him. He is the co-founder of a startup company, xFlow Research [], which is offering products and services in the software-defined networking space.