CSC491 – Second Milestone

Not quite as far along as I want to be, but definitely getting there.  Refreshed my rpm and general sysadminning memories in the process.  Still a lot to get done to have anything interesting…

A bit of background is in order to understand what I’ve been up to.  I’ve been working this week on getting the hang of working with the Planet-Lab infrastructure, and can mostly find my way around it manually now.  I haven’t figured out how to automate the interactions with it in the way that will be needed for this project, but it’s a start.

Planet-Lab is a network of computers around the world which researchers can obtain access to (eventually).  As a user, one gets a “slice”, which as far as I can tell is just a project-specific username.  The user can assign virtual machines on the “nodes”, which are the actual machines.  Users have limited root access on the nodes, and can install software, set up cron jobs (scheduled tasks), and run scripts.

So where has this gotten me? Well, read on….

Continue reading “CSC491 – Second Milestone”

CSC491 Capstone Design Class Notes and Status

For CSC491, the Capstone Design Project class I’m taking at the University of Toronto, I’m working with a project called InfoTrace.  The Citizen Lab, who run the project, are interested in global network reachability, particularly under adverse conditions such as DDoS attacks, BGP prefix hijacking, movement of server resources, etc.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished so far:

  • Tracked down U of T’s Principal Investigators for the Planet-Lab network and asked for access for the project
  • Set up this blog
  • Set up a GitHub account
  • Found some similar research
  • Read up on BGP
  • Explored several tools for doing traceroutes and related network tracing: hping3, nmap’s –traceroute, 0trace, and scapy.

A few links promised to my classmates, which are interesting on their own:

Miles Thibault is working on a business plan for a “Wikimovies” web site.  I think he’d get a lot out of some Long Tail reading:  Chris Anderson’s original article, and Kevin Kelly’s riff on it titled “1,000 True Fans“.

Denis Pankratov and Jennifer Ruttan are working on a really nifty-looking project to do accurate indoor localization with CDMA (that “other” cell phone protocol), and (blah) Ian Goldber’s paper on “Three Protocols for Location Privacy” from last year’s Privacy Enhancing Technologies symposium.

My goals, which were originally for the next two weeks but have been pushed back only one as I’ve fallen a bit behind on the “getting stuff up and running” side of things are:

  • Coming up with a database schema for storing connectivity information.
  • Getting a basic web interface up and running in django.

I’m working on these first rather than the network underpinnings as we don’t yet have access to the Planet-Lab infrastructure, so the constraints there aren’t entirely clear.  The front-end stuff will likely run on a server at Citizen Lab, so I can get that up and running right away.