[SCION] Carbon aware SCION networking.

Chris Adams chris at thegreenwebfoundation.org
Tue Mar 23 17:49:19 CET 2021

Hi SCION folks. 

I’ve been looking at SCION as a potential technology to building a degree of carbon awareness into the internet, so that it’s possible to have path preference policies that optimise for carbon intensity of the routes chosen, but also to move compute jobs to areas, either geographically or temporally, where compute is particularly cheap and green.

I have a few questions. I hope that a kind soul on the group might help me answer.

Some background before the questions

For context, I work at the Green Web Foundation, and was introduced to SCION by Adrian earlier, in a call. I find the technology really exciting, and it’s really cool seeing problems solved at a protocol level that I see large companies building proprietary stacks to solve for themselves.

We’re looking for partners with experience using SCION, as part of a bid to the NGI Pointer funding call at the link below, to build a demonstrator of these ideas. We’re currently working with a small sustainable CDN provider, and a grid intensity data provider, come up with a user facing product that relies on features of SCION to make what I outlined in the my opening paragraph possible.

You can learn more about the funding bid we’re going for at the link below:

https://ngi-pointer-open-call-2.fundingbox.com <https://ngi-pointer-open-call-2.fundingbox.com/>

The questions

1. Exit nodes for SCION - it’s my understanding that there are libraries you can use, to allow connections from a device to go from regular internet ‘into’ the SCION internet via an attachment point, at which point all the clever routing can happen, and then on the destination server you want to reach.

origin -> attachment point -> multiple SCION   hops > destination

I understand there has been some work to make something like an 'exit node’, to allow connections like so:

origin -> attachment point -> multiple SCION   hops > ‘exit node' > destination 

I can understand how you might do this, by encapsulating the original origin/destination packets, but I’m not sure where to look to see the code for this.

Would someone point me to where I should be looking, or if there is a specific issue tracker I ought to watch to learn more?

2. Exposing path preferences for carbon routing

I've shared a sample path preference policy based on assumed carbon intensity of SCION AS as a thought experiment - I’m guessing at some of this on the SCION side, but the intention of this policy object would be:

‘choose the greenest route possible, even if it results in more hops, as long as the total CO2 is lower along the longer route"

https://gist.github.com/mrchrisadams/12fa0d440b6873e8afef986aa78ec60a <https://gist.github.com/mrchrisadams/12fa0d440b6873e8afef986aa78ec60a> - 

We’ve have a prometheus exporter that exports these figures, so that the numbers can be advertised for route planning purposes. Both of the providers we consume data from in the grid intensity exporter can provide readings at a time resolution that I think would match SCION (I think we can reliably get readings every 30 mins for most parts of the world)

https://github.com/thegreenwebfoundation/grid-intensity-exporter/ <https://github.com/thegreenwebfoundation/grid-intensity-exporter/>

However I think I need some help understanding how to go from having this information in an prometheus exporter, and having a path policy to them being advertised so they can be used in routing. How can I go from here to announcing it via the beacons, so numbers like this can be used in routing decisions?

3. Getting help and advice

We’re looking for someone who would be able to answer questions like this to join us on the bid, but I couldn’t tell who we should be contacting for this. We’re submitting this bid as a research project, and we couldn’t tell if it made sense to ask here or contact Anapaya directly, and once we knew that it wasn’t clear what an engagement might look like.

Are the companies that offer retainer-type services or a block of time we could work into the bid so when we come up against technical problems we have someone to ask for pointers?

Thanks in advance for my questions.

4. Prior work

Finally, if there’s prior work in this field on SCION and climate, or papers that are already published - would someone direct us to it? We’d like to be able to point to it, and find fellow travellers too.

I know about the this paper below, but I’m not aware of any others:

Modeling Data-Plane Power Consumption of Future Internet Architectures <https://www.scion-architecture.net/pdf/2016-energy.pdf> 
Chen Chen, David Barrera and Adrian Perrig.
In Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Collaboration and Internet Computing (CIC), November 2016. 

Many thanks


Chris Adams


w: thegreenwebfoundation.org
e: chris at thegreenwebfoundation.org
t: @mrchrisadams

The Green Web Foundation
Van 't Hoffstraat 1
6706 KD Wageningen, The Netherlands 

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