Network of Excellence in Internet Science (EINS) Research Project
PROJECT SUMMARY The goal of this Network of Excellence in Internet Science is coordinating and integrating current research initiatives aimed at achieving a deeper multidisciplinary understanding of the development of the Internet as a societal and technological artefact, whose evolution is increasingly interwined with that of human societies. Its main objective is to allow an open and productive dialogue between all the disciplines which study Internet systems under any technological or humanistic perspective, and which in turn are being transformed by the continuous advances in Internet functionalities and applications. To achieve this objective, the NoE in Internet Science will bring together research institutions focusing on network engineering, computation, complexity, security, trust, mathematics, physics, sociology, game theory, economics, political sciences, humanities, law, energy, transport, artistic expression, and any other relevant social and life sciences. This multidisciplinary bridging of the different disciplines may also be seen as the starting point for a new Internet Science, the theoretical and empirical foundation for an holistic understanding of the complex techno-social interactions related to the Internet. It is supposed to inform the future technological, social and political choices concerning Internet technologies, infrastructures and policies made by the various public and private stakeholders, for example as for the far-ended possible consequences of architectural choices on social, economic, environmental or political aspects, and ultimately on quality of life at large. The individual contributing disciplines will themselves benefit from a more holistic understanding of the Internet principles and in particular of the "network effect". The unprecedented connectivity offered by the Internet plays a role often underappreciated in most of them; whereas the Internet provides both an operational development platform and a concrete empirical and experimental model. These multi- and inter- disciplinary investigations will improve the design of elements of the Future Internet, enhance the understanding of its evolving and emerging implications at societal level, and possibly identify universal principles for understanding the Internet-based world (offline and online), that will be fed back to the participating disciplines. To achieve this goal, the Network of Excellence in Internet Science will:
Coordinate the investigation, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, of specific topics at the intersection between humanistic and technological sciences, such as privacy and identity, reputation, virtual communities, security and resilience, network neutrality;
Lay the foundations for an Internet Science, based i.a. on Network Science and Web Science, aiming at understanding the impact of the "network effect" on human societies and organisations, as for technological, economic, social and environmental aspects;
Provide concrete incentives for academic institutions and individual researchers to conduct studies across multiple disciplines, in the form of online journals, conferences, workshops, PhD courses, schools, contests, and open calls for innovative activities in this direction.
CONCEPT AND OBJECTIVES OF THE NETWORK OF EXCELLENCE IN INTERNET SCIENCE BACKGROUND Human history has been shaped by networks: biological networks transferring enzymes and connecting cell elements; road networks transporting not only goods but culture; cultural networks, where information is elaborated among groups of people and transferred from generation to generation; economic networks (distribution networks, stock markets, etc.) where goods, services and information are exchanged in order to coordinate production, satisfy needs and generate (or appropriate) wealth; the power grid (among the most extensive man-made networks), which caters for the generation, transport and distribution of electric power. The Internet is just a newcomer in this long sequence of networks, with some quite special features though. Since its inception, the Internet has evolved from a purely technical artefact, in which all creators shared a common goal of interconnecting computers globally, to a central element of our social fabric through a combination of design and evolution by emergence. The designed elements mainly reflect principles from Computer Science and Communication, or more generally Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). On the other hand, the emergence of the web, especially in its more â€˜bottom-upâ€™ and social aspects (e.g. web 2.0), demonstrate that the design paradigm provides an inadequate basis for either the analysis of the Internet as it exists or even for the design of future aspects, and it has already provided ample
evidence that the Internet cannot be studied and its potential cannot be fully exploited by using concepts from the area of ICT only. The evolution of the Internet, as of any other network, is shaped by the human interaction that happens using it. Sociologists have long noted the importance of structure and function of inter-human and mimetic networks. Social networking, currently experiencing an explosive growth in its evolution and penetration, greatly evidences the above. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Internet is also impacting human interactions in a twofold manner: human activity shaping the network (“forward direction”) and network impacting on human behaviour (“backward direction”). For instance, two relevant dimensions that have been deeply affected by the emergence of web-based networks’ structures and its implications can be identified in new facets of knowledge generation (wikis, e-science, online education, distributed R&D, open innovation, peer-based production, online encyclopaedias, user generated content) and new models of knowledge circulation and distribution (e-journals, open repositories, Creative Commons licenses, academic podcasting initiative, etc.). The milieu that the Internet of today operates in has attracted various and diverse players from the commercial, government and civil society domains, which alternatively can be grouped into Internet providers,
arrangements). Given the increasing number, power and disparity of these players, the complexity of their interactions and the plasticity of their roles, duplication, gaps and contention come as no surprise. The results, however, can be surprising: well-intentioned actions that produce perverse consequences, disproportionate influence and discontinuous change, and emergent behaviour (including startling innovations) that may not even be perceived until fully developed and irreversible. The evolution of the Internet in the technological sense (to say nothing of the less-tangible cognitive, informational, societal, economic and political networks it supports) is often based on socio-economic ‘fitness’ rather than technological superiority, and it proceeds in ‘punctuated’ fashion (with periods of gradual and ‘localised’ change interspersed with shorter periods of widespread and disruptive change.) This evolution of the Internet – and its profound and growing influence on almost every facet of our daily lives – demands a greater understanding of reciprocal influences linking the Internet and broader socioeconomic systems and of the prospects and limitations associated with our attempts to extend the current Internet and influence its future development. Another striking feature of the Internet is its tremendous generative power, stemming from the embedded architectural openness and the ‘constitutional’ end-to-end principle. This reflects the initial situation in which intelligence and trust could safely be left to the users of the Internet and to the edge devices through which they gained access. To further their collective ability to pursue improvements, the network itself was meant to be as flat, as simple and as open as possible – not least because more complex forms of facilitation within the Internet itself were technologically challenging. However, the situation has changed; end users are no longer fully cognisant, no longer let alone in control of their devices, as the network itself can play a much more active role in managing collective problems. In their seminal work1, Clark et al. recognise that struggle is as important in technology as in economic and political systems, suggesting that “we, as technical designers, should not try to deny the reality of the tussle, but instead recognize our power to shape it.” Although meant for the technical people,
Clark, D., Wroclawski, J., Sollins, K. and R. Braden, Tussle in cyberspace: defining tomorrow's Internet, IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, 13(3), pp. 462-475, 2005.
this mandate pertains to all the communities that influence the various aspects of development of the Internet, many of which already recognise that their shaping decisions are moves in a game rather than acts of sovereign design. In consequence, the methodologies and techniques developed by these communities are structurally consistent with the ‘new’ scientific perspective called for by Clark et al. Still, this consistency has not resulted in an integrated approach; the disciplines remain somewhat “stove piped” in different silos. This fragmentation in research in the various associated fields and disciplines represents the primary reason behind the fact that development in the Internet and other disciplines occurs in a highly unsynchronized manner. What is missing is to bring together these many solutions and approaches into a holistic and coherent scientific framework with associated evaluative and design methodologies. This holistic approach can be used to understand Internet development, and to harness the creatively destructive force of the tussles of the Internet to stimulate the productive consequences of the Internet, improve its resilience and robustness and use the combined technological and human systems of the extended Internet to address wider societal, environmental, economical and other objectives in a holistic manner. In the quest of addressing this need for a scientific understanding of what is the Internet today, one should observe that networks in their broadest view, e.g. in form of human networks, roads, postal service and telephony have a very long history. However, it is only during the past years, with the development of online social networks, an increased understanding of complex systems and the wide availability of the Internet, that one could identify some common principles among these historical networks and the newcomer Internet. This observation underlines the call for an Internet Science to become a unifying discipline that borrows some of its principles from other well-established sciences as computer science, physics, economics, social science, etc. and has also its own particular fundamental laws and principles, similar to any other empirical science. Such an Internet Science is not just a descriptive science of how the Internet works, or a prescriptive science of how to improve or modify the Internet. It is rather an integrated platform for two-way interdisciplinarity,
where the separate disciplines contribute complementary perspectives and methods for exploring the adaptive behaviour and structural dynamics of complex systems, and
from which, by observation and measurement of Internet structure, behaviour and impacts, the different disciplines can ‘transfer innovations’ allowing greater generalisation.
VISION AND APPROACH From the above analysis, we formulate the vision for the NoE, which also constitutes the primary scientific objective of this Network of Excellence:
Bring together all the relevant but distinct research communities, in life and human sciences, to develop an integrated and inter-disciplinary scientific understanding ("Internet Science") of Internet networks and of their coevolution with society.
The first step in realising this objective is establishing an effective dialogue between the different constituent disciplines, which inevitably talk different languages and use different design and analysis tools. To achieve this, the Network of Excellence in Internet Science will identify and make available effective incentives to create recognised collaboration opportunities between different disciplines, at scientific, academic and experimental levels.
The key elements of Internet Science are: 1.
Multidisciplinary convergence: the Internet is a platform for the integration of sciences that have made the greatest sustained contribution to human progress, but whose different perspectives can also lead to missed opportunities and unanticipated consequences.
Observability: the Internet by its very nature generates unprecedented amounts of data on all sorts of behaviour and at the same time makes possible their integration with analytic and computational facilities.
Mathematics Arts & Humanities Computer Science
Economics Physics Applying
Sociology Figure 1: The Approach 3.
Constructive experimentation: the global reach, discretionary connectivity and openness of the Internet, combined with the potential for generating ‘subnets’ and human-machine complexes, provides an ideal test bed for technological, socioeconomic and cybernetic experiments to complement the natural experiments provided by the observability and diversity of the Internet.
The above, combined together, provide the basis for a science in the formal sense, for codification and integration of applicable bodies of theory and evidence applying to aspects of the extended Internet, for the extension of this knowledge by empirical and experimental means, and for the consequent development of techno-social systems that evolve, exploiting both the diversity of self-organised human endeavour and the continuous empirical testing that exposes both weaknesses and unsuspected potential. The structure and activities of the NoE are designed to spur cooperation and foster symbiotic relationships among the various communities required, also through appropriate incentives. The sought after outcome is a new vibrant multi-disciplinary community able to produce a body of scientific knowledge (evidence and theory) that draws on and enriches constituent communities. One particular feature is the intended emergence of Internet Science as a ‘trade language’ among the component communities, each of which has its own ‘natural language’ into which the science and its applications will be expressed. Just as each stakeholder has their own experience and understanding of the Internet, so each will be able to express concerns, make contributions and understand the results in their ‘native’ language, while at the same time communicating with others and thus enriching the common scientific language. Thus, the approach for realizing the vision focuses on addressing the various concerns in a multidisciplinary dialogue that becomes in effect a holistic design process aware of its own limitations, where disciplines can provide insights at all levels of the dialogue, as depicted in Figure 1.
Its central element is the core drivers for the development of such methodological and scientific basis, namely sets of design methodologies, emergence theories, development and experimentation, which are embedded into a process of rationalization and applications that help achieve the core outcome of the NoE: 1.
A set of scientific methodologies, deeply rooted in methods for understanding complex systems arising in biology, physics, economics and (other) social sciences;
A set of system design methodologies and emergence theories that draws on work in various communities such as computer science, media design, political science and economics and recognises their implications for how designed artefacts will be used.
A set of empirical and experimentation methodologies that provide evidence, which can be used to test hypotheses, feed back into design and quantify or calibrate factors that range from individual end users’ regulatory and legislative concerns to technological uncertainties and choices.
The Network of Excellence in Internet Science follows an iterative approach in which analysis and application for specific use cases go hand in hand.
RELATION TO NETWORK SCIENCE AND WEB SCIENCE The project will build to a significant extent on Network Science, as defined in a 2006 US National Research Council (NCR) report2 as “an interdisciplinary view of complex network systems… distinct from both network technology and network research: it is characterized by the discovery mode of science rather than the invention mode of technology and engineering ... network science consists of the study of network representations of physical, biological, and social phenomena, leading to predictive models of these phenomena.” 2
National Research Council, Committee on Network Science for Future Army Applications, Network Science, The National Academies Press, 2006.
This perspective and the enormous literature associated with it (e.g.3) have their origins in mathematics, physics, biology and allied natural sciences. It is primarily concerned with phenomenological description based on graph-theoretic properties interpreted as large-scale system outcomes of random processes. For example, physicists apply statistical mechanics to graph theory to analyse the implications of universal statistical features such as power laws in the measurement, modelling, and assessment of network structure and behaviour.4 Among the central questions are: 1.
whether complex system properties (e.g. reliability, robustness, performance, efficiency, adaptability, etc.) can be traced to (classes of) network structure;
whether structure and behaviour can be explained by universal laws – for example, to what extent can emergent ‘global’ properties not accounted for by reductionist or macrolevel analysis be explained by such ‘local’ properties as self-organisation;
whether systems can be designed, engineered, organised, constructed, reinforced, managed, complemented or ‘nudged’ to improve their performance in an uncertain world by minimising fragilities, vulnerabilities and endogenous collapse e.g. by producing ‘robust yet fragile’ geometries5 or adaptability.
However, Network Science neither holistically captures phenomena, methods and insights from the social sciences perspectives, nor the dimension of the ‘web’ and the various associated repercussions with generation and retrieval of content in the Internet. For instance, the economic perspective considers the implications of ‘network externalities’ on economic outcomes (including innovation), the importance of specific interaction structures for trading, communication and other outcomes, and the competitive and efficiency consequences of (primarily physical) transportation, energy and communication networks. The game theoretic perspective shares with Network Science a focus on graph theoretic representations, but focuses on deliberate rather than random dynamics and distinguishes behavioural choices at nodes from decisions to make, break, use or alter network links. These aspects are instead taken into account by the Web Science Trust started in 2006 between MIT and University of Southampton to bridge and formalize the social and technical aspects of the World Wide Web. The exact scope of Web science is still -intentionally- largely undefined. Some initial areas of interest are: social networks, collaboration, understanding online communities, analyzing the human interactions inherent in social media, developing "accountability" and other mechanisms for enhancing privacy and trust on the Web. It is difficult and probably inappropriate drawing a line separating Internet Science from Web Science; though probably neither Network Science nor Web Science aim at a broad holistic understanding of the co-evolution of Internet and Society, considering all the aspects which can influence this process and be affected by it, at technological, infrastructural, human or societal levels. The differences may be better explained in methodological terms: Internet Science aims at achieving a transformative impact on the way research is being done in all domains affecting and affected by the Internet, through both a theoretical understanding and an empirical approach based on observations and experimentations, also considering environmental extensions and the interaction with the emerging Internet of Things.
3 4 5
Lewis, T., Network science: theory and practice, John Wiley and Sons, 2009. Albert, R. And A.-L. Barabasi, Statistical mechanics of complex networks, Rev. Mod. Phys. 74. 2002.
i.e. unaffected by random component failures but vulnerable to targeted attacks on its key components.
Thus, the objective of the NoE is to broaden the perspective and reconcile the different versions of Network Science, in collaboration with the emerging Web Science, under the holistic view of the Internet Science that will enable us to comprehend the societal and economic implications of the Internet and pave the way to better informed and perhaps more effective Future Internet developments.
OBJECTIVES This Network of Excellence in Internet Science aims to achieve a deeper multidisciplinary understanding of the development of the Internet as a societal and technological artefact, whose evolution is increasingly interwined with that of human societies. Its main objective is to allow an open and productive dialogue between all the disciplines which study Internet systems under any technological or humanistic perspective, and which in turn are being transformed by the continuous advances in Internet functionalities and applications. To achieve this objective, the Internet Science NoE will bring together research institutions focusing on network engineering, computation, complexity, security, trust, mathematics, physics, sociology, game theory, economics, political sciences, humanities, law, energy, transport, artistic expression, and any other relevant social and life sciences.
This multidisciplinary bridging of the different disciplines may also be seen as the starting point for a new Internet Science, the theoretical and empirical foundation for an holistic understanding of the complex techno-social interactions related to the Internet. It is supposed to inform the future technological, social and political choices concerning Internet technologies, infrastructures and policies made by the various public and private stakeholders, for example as for the far-ended possible consequences of architectural choices on social, economic, environmental or political aspects, and ultimately on quality of life at large. The individual contributing disciplines will themselves benefit from a more holistic understanding of the Internet principles and in particular of the "network effect". The unprecedented connectivity offered by the Internet plays a role often underappreciated in most of them; whereas the Internet provides both an operational development platform and a concrete empirical and experimental model. These multi- and inter- disciplinary investigations will improve the design of elements of the Future Internet, enhance the understanding of its evolving and emerging implications at societal level, and possibly identify universal principles for understanding the Internet-based world (offline and online), that will be fed back to the participating disciplines. To achieve this goal, the Internet Science Network of Excellence will: Coordinate the investigation, from a multi-disciplinary perspective, of specific important Internet-related topics at the intersection between humanistic sciences (social life, economy, law and regulation), technological sciences and environmental concerns (including energy), such as privacy and identity, reputation, virtual communities, security and resilience, network neutrality;
Create a systematic approach for integrating governance, regulation and standardization issues and activities into the Internet Science.
Understand and fortify Internet privacy, identity management, trust and reputation mechanisms in the world of evolving content generation and consumption.
Explore how Internet can support diverse virtual online communities, crowd-sourcing and smart-sourcing.
Address the role and protection of the Internet as a critical infrastructure by paying attention to risk, resilience, dependability and security matters.
Assess the potential of sensor enabled environmental monitoring as a prime enabler the Internet.
Assess and investigate the role of Internet in contributing to sustainability, e.g. by reducing carbon footprint and by adhering to a green, energy-frugal operation and functionalities.
Harness the potential of the Internet as a platform that decisively shapes democracy around the world.
Lay the scientific and methodological foundations for the development of an Internet Science, based i.a. on Network Science and Web Science, aiming at understanding the co-evolution of Internet and Societies and in particular the impact of the "network effect" on human societies and organisations, as for technological, economic, social and environmental aspects;
Create an integrated common platform for the various scientific disciplines to interact, with particular emphasis on bi-lateral communication of the Internet as an enabling means, and these disciplines.
Constrain the phenomenon of fragmented research by establishing a common framework with crisp and clear points of interaction of the Internet and other disciplines, aiming at cross-fertilization among them.
Project the research and experimentation aspect of the Internet as a platform, enabling consolidation of long-term foundational and real-life evidence collection approaches and methods that leverage the Internet.
Advance common understanding and promote joint investigation of the complex nature of the Internet networks, services and applications with the ultimate goal of strengthening the interoperability, promoting openness and fortifying market evolution.
Assist the regular sciences contributing in the multi-disciplinary investigation and foundation of the Internet Science, to advance themselves by generalizing the observations and the extracted fundamentals about the Internet to the real world.
Develop a solid and foundational theory for understanding networks, their interaction regimes, outcomes and evolution, as well as the uniqueness of the good, i.e. information that they are transporting.
Deliver a concrete set of methodologies for the design of the Internet components and solutions and for the understanding of the emergence of such techno-social systems.
Build a methodology and science for evidence collection and exploitation, thus creating the missing connection between data collection for various disciplines and feedback to the various design methods.
Provide concrete incentives for academic institutions and individual researchers to conduct studies across multiple disciplines, in the form of online journals, conferences, workshops, PhD courses, schools, contests, researchers' excahnges, and open calls for innovative activities in this direction.
Consolidate the various heterogeneous disciplines into a holistic integrated approach that will shape the profile of an Internet Scientist.
Promote the interdisciplinary study of the Internet through the education and training of students, technology pioneers and scientists on the holistic perspective of the Internet Science via the organization of summer schools, joint graduate programmes, workshops and conferences, and in general, by the facilitation of researcher mobility.
Create a virtual centre of excellence to spread the concept of the Internet Science, aiming to disseminate knowledge and foster the creation of virtual communities jointly with external interested parties and stakeholders
Establish a user-friendly website with popular tools and social services, such as wikis, forums and blogs.
Seek the active engagement of external organizations with consortium members through the process of call for proposals to finance micro-projects on selected subjects
that will identified in the course of the project. This mechanism will permit to this Network of Excellence to focus and investigate in depth selected topics, and moreover, to be augmented with additional expertise, shall it deemed to be lacking from the original consortium, further enhancing the multidisciplinary approach and the holistic treatment of the Internet Science.
The importance of the above is further underlined by the large investments that are directed in the Internet, both in Europe and worldwide. Succeeding in the launching the Internet Science will enable Europe to identify and formulate the right set of policies, regulatory and economic ‘ecosystem’ that will steer the Internet’s evolution towards the Future Internet in a most appropriate way with respect to the effects of the Internet in the social, economic and environmental domains. Hence, the above objectives can be summarized as maximizing Internet’s benefit to European and other countries. Furthermore, a deep holistic understanding of the principles that govern the Internet Science and its implications to the society will shape and strengthen Europe’s role and global position on the topic of the Future Internet. It will also maximise Europe’s potential to influence Internet standards and its evolution. Towards this end, EINS will contribute a set of deliverables “Roadmap of the Internet Science to HORIZON 2020” and “Survey of current state of the art and related expertise in Europe” that will assist in shaping the research initiatives of European Commission and other national or international agencies in the Future Internet, especially in view of the upcoming HORIZON 2020 Programme. 1.1 LONG-TERM INTEGRATION The multi-faceted, holistic study of the Internet that the Network of Excellence in Internet Science aims to is admittedly a vast and complex topic. The successful laying of Internet Science’s keystones, the profound
exploration of Internet’s implications to our civilization and the fruitful investigation of the evolution to the Future Internet require an intense and coordinated effort from experienced researchers, engineers and Internet pioneers across a wide spectrum of disciplines, ranging from the applied, natural and formal sciences, such as computer and complexity scientists, networking and security scientists, mathematicians, physicists and biologists, with social and cognitive sciences, such as sociologists, psychologists, economists, political and law scientists. As an example of the multilateral effort required, the success and the benefits of online social networks are intricately related not only to technological aspects, such as the availability of broadband connectivity and suitable terminals (e.g. mobile smartphones for Tweeter and socio-geographical services, right form factor and user friendly GUIs), but to the regulatory environment about user privacy, trust identity, intellectual property as well. More importantly, when studying online social networks, societal sciences should be employed to consider the very social aspects that govern the networks’ dynamics. Furthermore, social networks often have deep implications to the domains of other disciplines, such as economics, business or politics, if the social network is related to such activities (e.g. as in LinkedIn network for job seekers and employers, or in major political campaigns as in the last US presidential elections through a variety of services, that included blogs, forums, and activity on Facebook). Clearly, long-term integration is a sine qua non, if the Internet is to be studied under a truly holistic perspective to steer the development of Future Internet. This long-term integration is expected due to the transformational impact of the Internet Science Network of Excellence on the way research is being conducted in the distinct disciplines, which are targeted. In particular, the incentives to multidisciplinary research provided by EINS are expected to play a key role in achieving this degree of long-lasting impact, for instance through the creation, support and recognition of multidisciplinary journals.
CONTRIBUTION TO THE CREATION OF A “VIRTUAL CENTRE OF EXCELLENCE” Although Internet Science NoE is comprised by a numerous set of partners, through its diverse and complementary activities on the real world (such as workshops, conferences and courses) as well as on the virtual world, EINS aims to become a centre that will combine the expertise and prestige of its members, acting as a prominent institution on the field of Internet Science that operates in a distributed manner. Distant collaboration tools and researcher mobility are just some of the activities that will promote the unity of the project and the integration among partners. Moreover, a comprehensive web portal registering all the activities of the consortium, employing advanced web tools and online social networking service, along with proactive dissemination activities from the project, will promote the project’s visibility to all stakeholders across Europe and globally, and provide a venue to participate towards the investigation of the Internet Science and the multi-facet exploration of Internet’s social, etc. implications. The engagement of external interested parties will be more boosted through the instrument
of the Network of Excellence in Internet Science call for proposals to actively bring them into the project, further elevating EINS into a virtual centre of excellence, a think-tank for the foundation of the Internet Science in the global community. JOINT PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES OVERALL STRATEGY OF WORK PLAN As a NoE, EINS Joint Programme of Activities (JPA) is organized around four main activities: 1.
Joint Research Activities (JRA) to drive the methodological and scientific part of our vision;
Integration Activities (IA) to support integration and harmonisation of partner activities;
Spreading Excellence Activities (SEA) to support the dissemination of the activities and the interaction with external stakeholders in the area of Internet Science; and
Management Activities (MA) to support the Network of Excellence in Internet Science execution with appropriate management structures, as depicted in Figure 2.
The heart of the methodological work of the NoE is formed by the JRAs; in general, they will take stock of existing activities in key scientific aspects of Internet Science, promoting coordination and stimulating synergies between them, and complementing them with research in specific areas which are seen as key for influencing the definition of future Internet specifications at architectural, technological and infrastructural levels. JRA1, JRA2 and JRA3 are derived from the centrepiece of our vision, aiming to support the sets of scientific
experimentation methodologies, respectively, in accordance with the cycle of Figure 1. In particular, as outlined in Figures 2 and 3, JRAs 1, 2 and 3 constitute the supporting pillars for the rest of research activities (JRA4 through JRA8) that aim to coordinate the various multidisciplinary communities, ranging from legal and political through environmental and social science as well as user experience communities, thus implementing the rationalization/application cycle of Figure 1. These core activities have the broad scope that we believe is necessary and sufficient to realize the holistic vision we have formulated.
Figure 2: Strategic Organisation The JRAs are reinforced by integration and dissemination activities that not only bring together research institutions from different disciplines, thus furthering the collaboration among the consortium partners, but also help engage with communities outside the NoE. The latter issue is an important aspect since we recognize the impossible endeavour of bringing all relevant parties under a single NoE. A variety of activities will be steered towards engaging with communities that are active in the same problem space and that provide crucial input for implementing our overall vision. Key in actively engaging all stakeholders in the Network of Excellence in Internet Science will be the organization of calls for proposals via SEA4. This activity not only permits closer interaction with key external projects and communities in the course of the project, but it will also enrich this NoE with new key partners and skills that may be seen as necessary for the holistic study of the Internet in the course of the NoE.
Figure 3: JRAs Strategic Presentation
Joint Research Activities JRA1 Towards a Theory of Internet Science This activity is about the development of a multidisciplinary scientific approach to the understanding of Internet networks that is envisaged in Internet Science. Despite the rise of so-called “network science” in the last decade, a range of underdefined issues and unresolved fundamental differences in discipline-bound approaches limits the applicability of this network science across different disciplines, in particular in the social sciences and humanities. The Internet involves humans, societal groups, institutions and ideas; these entities, and the actual or potential links within and among them, are every bit as important as the technological layer (networks of machines and other „things‟, and the communication infrastructure itself) through which they connect. A theory of networks should thus take into account academic insights produced in disciplines dealing with different aspects of human behaviour (e.g. sociology, anthropology, economics, political sciences etc.), along with socalled „hard sciences‟ (e.g. mathematics, physics) and information and communication-based disciplines (e.g. information theory, performance analysis, etc.) if it is to understand the evolution and behaviour of networks considering both “forward” (human to network) and “backward” (network to human) interactions. A key element in the Network Science approach that will be taken into consideration is that, by observing similarities, differences and interactions among different types of "network", we can discover fundamental rules and principles applicable to a large class of networks regardless of particular technology, protocol, social background, economic situation, etc. But, along this dimension of increased generalization, it is unavoidable that we lose the fine details of context. In other words, we aim for a continuous “conceptual oscillation” between extracting generic elements and highlighting their role in a better understanding of concrete human behaviour patterns. To give an example of how to operationalize such an approach on the methodological level, for instance, we envision using pattern recognizing techniques (on aggregated level) as indicators for in-depth, context-rich analysis (on a micro-level). An example is the study of resilience classes (the aggregated behaviour of a network in response to a challenge) in the context of the technical, economic/policy, sociological and legal conditions pertaining at the time (the concrete, micro level). Another example is to combine elements from social network analyses (heterogeneity of agents and how their social and behavioural attributes influence their network-role) with structural and statistical analysis as done by complex networks theory and statistical physics. Moreover, the foundations of the Internet as a technical infrastructure are often not taken into account when analysing (social) networks supported by this infrastructure. Our aim, and first objective, is to bridge the different disciplinary perspectives on the functionalities, evolution and applications of the Internet, seen as a socio-technical system. The main objective is to understand how technological, policy, economic and social elements interact with each other and condition the evolution of Internet systems, and thereby contribute to creating the conditions for further innovative services and functionalities to appear.
Second, it is important to discover fundamental models of network graphs (where networks are to be intended as virtual as well as physical) to understand and explain why they have developed their current structure, activity and impacts, and how they will evolve in the future. When looking at the evolution of the Internet both as a technological and social artefact, research at the level of web developments (sometimes called “Web Science”) and also of patterns of connectivity and/or traffic graphs, can help understanding the global picture and the broader research framework. A central tenet of the interdisciplinary investigation in the Network of Excellence in Internet Science is the set of linkages between microscopic (local) interactions and large-scale behaviour, such as how user selfishness and sociability, physical constraints on network deployment and operation, and fundamental theoretical constraints (including the limited memory, cognitive capacity and „rationality‟ of network users) influence network structure, sustainability and evolution. Third, a key topic of Internet Science regards the cooperation for the production, distribution, and consumption of “information”. In the abstract, information holds particular properties of universality and infinite reusability, in contrast to ordinary goods and services. It also offers different types of externality – the value of information for one party may increase or decrease if others know it, and beliefs and expectations may be as important as „hard‟ information. Cooperation in networks can result in the emergence of global distributed intelligence from local interactions. At the broader level, this "collective intelligence" can expand the current levels of human cognition and give rise to new forms of social organisation and knowledge creation. In
the computing and network sciences, this can even be used to control the network itself (e.g. to reduce congestion by spreading the traffic), and constitutes the base for building a self-organising and resilient network capable of efficient recovery from (accidental or deliberate) network failures, and detecting, isolating and/or correcting nodes whose behaviour causes problems in the network. Understanding this cooperative intelligence (e.g. whether it resembles the intelligence of individuals in the network) is central to Internet Science in association with grid and high performance computing. One often-overlooked feature is the cost of networking. In complex systems, the cost of network activities has to be balanced against the benefits of distributed actions. On the other hand, to be able to estimate “costs” that participants are willing to pay, we need to add a layer of meaning to the notion of “information”. Thus, in this project we address syntactic, semantic, social and economic aspects of information. Conversely, in the backward dimension, the operation of economic, societal, etc. systems in the Internet provides a huge set of empirical data, which can be seen as an experimental platform. The capacities, standards, and so forth arising in the „technical Internet‟ change the costs and benefits in comparison to off-line environments, and the beliefs on the uptake and application of these capabilities. In turn, this affects manufacturing practices, collaboration paradigms, marketing, and the creation of intangible financial assets. The above activities will be immersed in a reflexive theoretical framework characterised by the interplay between two deeper dimensions. The first dimension is concerned with questions of ontology and epistemology, i.e. the starting assumptions about what the Internet is made of and how knowledge in and about the Internet is constructed in the different disciplines comprising Internet Science. The second is concerned with questions of social and economic value, i.e. what are the fundamental human and societal drivers for Internet developments. Whereas the first set of questions will address the challenge of communicating not just across different disciplines but across different epistemologies, the second set of questions will draw from the field of economic anthropology and other social sciences to seek the right balance between the „base‟ or „commons‟, and the society and market in the context of the online knowledge economy and of the emerging cultural forms and social organizations of the Future Internet. The ultimate goal of this Internet Science NoE will be a better understanding of the complex nature of Internet networks, services and applications, and of their design based on desirable social, economic or environmental objectives. JRA2 Emergence Theories and Design Methodologies The objectives of this JRA are directly derived from our vision and overall approach, i.e., it complements the development of scientific understanding in various areas such as information theory, network economics and evolution and many others with the development of a set of tools and methodologies addressing the emergence or the design of large-scale systems based on this scientific understanding. In other words, the work in JRA2 complements JRA1 in such a way that it provides the necessary insight into the set of processes by which individual solutions become part of a larger whole, complemented by JRA3 in its work to lay the foundation for structuring the empirical evidence resulting from these processes. Similar to JRA1, this identification of processes (and methodologies to
capture such processes) is to be based on a scientific basis itself with the help of approaches from various disciplines, such as system dynamics, game theory, user-centric design and many others. Examples of such methodologies are system dynamics modelling, game-theoretic approaches, OSTA (open system task analysis) and others. These methodologies take into explicit account the concerns (e.g., economics, governance, security, privacy) brought into the design process by a variety of stakeholders and design communities. It is the inherent multi-disciplinary nature of the problem of emergence and design that lies at the heart of this JRA, which will be informed by the various â€ždesign communitiesâ€&#x;. It will also possibly inform the deeper scientific developments within these specialized disciplines through a multidisciplinary dialogue (possibly channeled through JRA1 in specialized areas). The end goal of this dialogue is the development of a set of rigorous emergence theories and design methods that are eventually rooted in a deep scientific foundation enriched by our increasing understanding of the Internet as a complex system; this increased understanding in the deeper areas is being developed in JRA1. The development of these methodologies and the understanding of the necessary processes is not only expected to aid the technical system design community but also provide the necessary understanding for communities such as standardization and regulatory bodies and also funding agencies to understand emergence and foster large-scale design in a more rigorous and productive way. For this, we envision the development of appropriate whitepapers and roadmaps to the appropriate communities. Therefore, the core objective of this JRA can be formulated as developing a science of emergence and design that complements the scientific and technological developments in the various contributory disciplines and enriches our capability to evaluate the system consequences of basic architectural or infrastructural choices. JRA3 Evidence and Experimentation JRA3, as the third key element of the vision and approach of the Network of Excellence in Internet Science, will focus on the methodology for conducting experiments at the crossroads of various fields (such as computer science, physics, sociology, economics), in such a way that will allow extracting useful and structured evidence increasing our understanding of socio-technical phenomena taking place in or on the Internet. Experimentation combines with empiricism to provide and make useful a rich and compelling evidence base. Empirical data reflect the Internet (and associated systems) as it is; experimental methods extend this search into extended, modified and other counterfactual environments. The core activities of JRA3 are about identifying, assessing and providing a repository of the set of tools and methodologies to measure and adequately represent Internet data (metrology) and information (mediametry) traffic, as well as the existing available platforms (experimentation), including social testbeds. JRA3 will coordinate existing activities in this field, for instance in the experimental community related to FIRE. In particular, JRA3 closes the cycle of Figure 1, by (i) organizing and assessing the evidence base necessary to perform empirical and experimental validation and assessment of the scientific principles derived in JRA1, and the emergence theories, designs, tools and methodologies derived in JRA2, (ii)
providing feedback to both in the form of empirical evidence and simulation results to extend the reach and guide the conduct of formal theory and designs, (iii) measuring unknown quantities, ranging from low-level parameters, such as packet loss, to high-level such as quality of life enhancements and the concerns and impact of online media, (iv) providing a base for standardised measures of internet usage, for instance in terms of traffic and data types, e.g. for personal information. JRA4 Governance, Regulation and Standards JRA4 addresses the governance, regulatory and technical standards aspects of future Internet design across all layers of the protocol stack on both technical and social/humanities aspects. In particular, JRA4 will shed light on the regulatory and governance mechanisms behind the development of Internet standards, and will allow lessons to be drawn from social scientific analysis to ensure the appropriateness of the standards as the Internet becomes more deeply embedded into the social fabric. Thus, the ultimate objective of JRA4 is to coordinate existing activities, disseminate and collaborate in developing research methodologies in new methods of regulation â€“ including stakeholder dialogues and choices that affect the present and future Internets, considering the concerns (such as participation, democratic values, network growth and complexity, interoperability, security, privacy) from various stakeholders and design communities. Its outcomes include strong collaboration with SEA2 on ICT standard-setting institutions, and outreach to social science researchers via long-established connections to the European (EuroCPR), United States (TPRC), and international (GIGANET, IAMCR, International Telecommunications Society) academic communities. The partners in JRA4 are from socio-legal studies (UESSEX, UiO), economics and game theory (WARW), and inter-disciplinary information studies drawing on socio-economic and political analysis (NEXA, IBBT, UoS, IMDEA, UPMC, UNIBO, Institute of Informatics and Telematics of CNR, MLS, LJU). Their coordination and investigation of governance and standard setting on the Internet draws on inter-disciplinary approaches.
JRA5 Internet Privacy, Identity, Trust and Reputation mechanisms
The explosion of content and data in the forms of messages, photos, videos and links in social networking sites and cloud computing servers across the Internet has raised questions about user privacy and the security of his/her data, concepts that are little understood even by experienced users. Aiming to become a reference point for the coordination of studies in legislation and technology addressing privacy, identity, online trust and reputation, JRA5 will draw together and further develop research on distributed social networks (such as Diaspora and Footlights), partial identities (PrimeLife), privacy-protective sensor networks (FRESNEL), privacy beliefs and behaviours (PVNets), online trust and reputation mechanisms. It will integrate research efforts, scientific concepts and methodologies from computer science, psychology, anthropology, sociology, political science, statistics, graph theory, behavioural economics and law, and will investigate trade-offs between anonymity and accountability, and how decentralized privacy-enhanced systems can protect against spam, offensive content and criminal activities, while at the same time creating reliable and trusted mechanisms for online interaction based on reputation systems. JRA6 Virtual Communities The Internet and other areas of ICT have enabled distance relationships to form, from social network sites to large-scale virtual worlds in which people socialize, and have enabled the formation of virtual communities for workplace collaboration, distance education, medical services, politics, etc. Ultimately, the integration of online social networks with tools for distributed creation of knowledge, interfaced to the real world through network of sensors and rooted in real communities, are expected to create an extended collective awareness which will be the basis for innovative and sustainable actions, at individual and collective levels, in multiple fields (environmental, social, political, etc.), as captured by the recent EU initiative on platforms for collective awareness and action.
JRA6 aims to distill knowledge and best practices from such efforts and to develop social design methodologies for development and experimentation within virtual communities â€“ including user needs analysis and the impact on technological design choices affecting the future Internet (such as open standards, Quality of Service), taking into account socio-economic, security and privacy concerns. Outreach to the wider social science community examining virtual communities will be established via the most appropriate actions, including exchange with leading scholars in such conferences as State of Play.
This work package will also consider the developments of the initiative on Platforms for Collective Awareness and Action, which is being launched by the European Commission (http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/collectiveawareness/events/index_en.htm). Ultimately, Internet Science itself will become both an offline and online virtual community of ICT and social science scholars exchanging best practice, through IAs and SEA activities that complement JRA6. The partners in JRA6 are inter-disciplinary institutions based on the social sciences, from law (UESSEX), socio-economic analysis (IBBT), social science broadly drawn with a focus on sociology and political science (UNIBO, LSE), anthropology (OXF â€“ Dunbar), communications studies (TUD, LSE). They are complemented by CNR, TCLR, ULANC, UoA and MLS. JRA7 Internet as Critical Infrastructure; Security, Resilience and Dependability aspects As the Internet becomes the carrier for an increasing number of critical applications, such as financial data transactions or security operations, in place of specially deployed data networks, the impact of failures in its operation can become dramatic. Essentially, the Internet has become a critical infrastructure, though it was not designed for this purpose. It therefore becomes imperative to engage in a systematic approach to address risk and resilience to random failures, human errors, software or
hardware faults, as well as political decisions and orchestrated malicious attacks at a broader sociotechnical level, jointly investigating how threats arise, and how resilience and dependability can be provisioned. This approach will combine social actors using and operating critical applications on the Internet with work on the security and resilience of the Internet itself. JRA7 aims to integrate technical, economical, sociological, political and legal viewpoints and expertise in addressing the criticality of the Internet infrastructure and the challenges that may arise from usage patterns, technical faults, local poliical decisions or malicious attackers. It will also draw risk management studies into Internet Science, to promote the development of risk studies with the social phenomena arising in the Internet, and to jointly develop technical solutions aware of these aspects. JRA8 Internet for Sustainability This JRA addresses the investigation, from a multi-disciplinary angle, of how the Future Internet could help to relieve the main problems affecting sustainability at planetary scale, including Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, energy production, sustainable lifestyles, and the related problem of climate change.
Based on the vast research efforts to model and estimate our climate, managed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it has become clear that GHG emissions need to
be drastically diminished during the coming decades to avoid a climate change catastrophe. The public and societal interest is incontestable, and many initiatives and ambitious goals are arising, such as the European 20-20-20 objective: increase of energy efficiency by 20%, increase of renewable energy sources by 20%, and reduction of CO2 emissions by 20%. This emergency obviously also has fuelled research activities in various domains of society, trying to design new alternatives to reduce the GHG emissions. One of these sectors is Information and Communication Technology (ICT), including the Internet itself and a wide variety of network terminal devices such as desktop and laptop PCs, servers in data centres, TV screens, and so on. This JRA will take stock of existing activities in the field, promote coordination and stimulate synergies between them, and complement them with research in specific areas which are seen as key for influencing the definition of future Internet specifications at architectural, technological and infrastructural levels. Integration Activities These activities are targeted towards promoting integration among partners. IA1 Facilitation of Researcher Mobility Research mobility is particularly important in promoting knowledge flows and in ensuring a diverse and highly skilled workforce that has the capacity to respond to opportunities and challenges in the creation of the Internet Science. The goal of this integration activity is to increase ties to transnational research and to promote the knowledge flows and collaboration between institutions promoting new interdisciplinary academic networks. Towards this end, at the beginning of the projects, the consortium members will declare their interests on research areas so as to identify potential matching between researchers and institutions that will be used to identify the researcher mobility programme. IA2 Joint Courses, Graduate Programmes and Organisation of Summer Schools Complementing the previous Integrating Activities, summer schools and joint courses in the various JRA areas will promote researchers‟ and students‟ holistic interdisciplinary study of Internet and, above all, will contribute to the recognition at academic level of the multidisciplinary fields of work related to Internet Science. The Summer School initiative is seen as a multi-disciplinary opportunity to exchange institutional research projects as well as other academic initiatives relevant for the Internet Science. The creation of an Internet Science syllabus that integrates sciences and interdisciplinary research methods also will be discussed within the Summer Schools. During the preparation of Summer Schools and workshops, the stakeholders interested in the creation of the Internet Science will be invited to participate (e.g., policy makers, entrepreneurs, Internet providers, developers of technology). The yearly internal workshops will provide the basis for reaching the research communities. These meetings will also pursue a discussion of a “white paper” that promotes the relevance of joint effort to create the “Internet Science”. The idea is that this collective and inter-institutional document will be based on expert opinions enabling collaboration and integration of research and academic
work. On the other hand, these workshops and schools are seen as an appropriate initiative to engage other institutions in further collaboration, and to promote lasting multidisciplinary activities recognised by distant disciplines. Spreading Excellence Activities These set of activities are targeted towards providing an open window from the consortium to the public, with the ultimate goal of attracting stakeholders interested in the study of Internet Science and thus creating a virtual centre of excellence. SEA1 e-Presence, Dissemination and Awareness Raising and Electronic Tools The online platform aims to facilitate and assist virtual collaboration to support the implementation of those activities included in the NoE. As a summary this platform will integrate a variety of online services and tools that will allow geographically distributed team collaboration, avoiding travelling and offering flexibility (and mobility) either to work synchronic and non-synchronically.
The concept: the platform will integrate a collection of online services that enhance the knowledge management, the interaction (one to one and one to many) and the sharing of experience and resources. The platform will be designed to offer added value both for the internal community of the Network of Excellence and other sectors of the society who are interested in Internet Science. In order to do that, standard and broadly adopted online services and programming languages will be privileged in the creation of this platform. The architecture: this platform will be based on open source architecture in order to include â€œcontent management systemâ€? (CMS) developments such as: Joomla, Drupal or WordPress. The selection of
the core technology will be based on the flexibility needed to integrate different services and applications. The design of a collaborative platform will be based on a versatile structure that will allow the changes and adaptations that a project with a high level of complexity such as EINS will demand during its whole implementation. The architecture of the platform will be divided in three main levels: -
Level ONE - Internal Information (back office – work station): Collaborative environment. The objective of this level is to share internal information among the participants. It will be used exclusively by the members (authentication required). This level of the platform will include useful tools and services required for the daily work: online word processor; internal repository; tools for online communication (peer-to-peer or meeting with several participants) such as chat or forum; internal news groups based on specific task or activities; calendars; etc. Considering the variety of JRAs and activities that will be implemented during the project simultaneously, this platform will allow to work and interact either with all the members of the NoE or only with those partners who share a specific task or JRA (modular administration to simplify collaboration). Level TWO - Public Information Available (front desk – institutional website): Corporative environment. In this level the platform will provide public information related to the ongoing activities coordinated by or developed within the NoE (no authentication needed). Each JRA group will be asked to periodically generate contents and information relevant to their activities. That is why each one of the “Joint Research Activity” group will have a particular blog where the members will have to create contents and share relevant information (i.e. themes discussed, relevant news, events, publications, etc.). In the same way, all the information published in each one of these blogs will be integrated in one single site (“rss reader”) that will provide an overview of all the activities that are running at the same time in EINS. A similar approach will be adopted with the IAs and SEAs (CMS). All the participants will be encouraged to update periodically the information of the activities that they will be developing. The content included (in the blogs if concern a JRA or in the CMS if regards “other task”) will be updated by the members of the Internet Science community. This aspect is considered a novelty and an added value because it will provide “live” streaming of this project (i.e. action research). Also an online “press room” will be elaborated to facilitate institutional information of this NoE (contacts for interviews; FAQs; coming events; members‟ profile, etc.). The idea is to simplify as much as possible the access to information that can be disseminated through the traditional media (TV, newspaper, magazine, radio, etc.). In addition, the platform will offer a public repository of resources that are relevant and related with the disciplines included in this project and the goals of this NoE. These contents (white papers, academic papers/journals; reports; meeting minutes, presentations, etc.) will be organized by a social taxonomy provided by members of EINS. The information added in the platform will be licensed by Sciences Commons in order to facilitate and promote the use of the contents created. Level THREE - Public Proactive Communication (social media): The previously mentioned online information elaborated by the members of the NoE community and published through blogs (or CMS) will be distributed using standard social networks tools. Here the aim is to facilitate the continuous dissemination of contents and resources through different
application and formats. It is expected that the diversity but also the complementarities of tools and services will facilitate the “spreadability” of contents through social networks. As general criteria all the information added in the platform will be “tagged” in order to simplify the “findability” of its contents through online search engines. In addition, the exportation of contents toward complementary online platforms as depicted on Figure 4 will facilitate to reach other groups (public and private organizations, entities as well as the citizens, etc.). This approach will open the possibility of new ways of interaction and dialogue with different communities. Finally, all this actions will provide a relevant visibility and online identity of the Network of Excellence in Internat Science. Some of the open access tools included in this level are: social networks; micro-blogging; group and members online profile; RSS news; news letter; podcast; photo and video gallery; customized search engine; documents, podcast and presentation repository, etc.
Figure 4: Online Platform SEA2 Standardisation and Legislation activities This activity will target the establishment of a communication channel to the various standardization bodies (such as IEEE, ITU, IETF, ETSI, W3C) and legislation bodies to provide effective information exchange from and to the consortium, that will facilitate the members in their study and propagate the findings of the project that relate to standards and regulation for constructively assisting Internet evolution.
SEA3 Dissemination and cooperation - Workshops and Conferences Organisation, Publications and collaboration with other relevant activities As part of the spreading of Excellence and the maximisation of the impact of its scientific and technological activity on the European society (in line with the socio-economic and policy objectives of the call) the project is using three main dissemination mechanisms, i.e. workshop and conferences, whitepapers and joint publications, and the dissemination to other relevant national, European and international projects and research activities. The main objective of this work package is to integrate all related disciplines through joint activities, conferences, workshops, and publications. In order to achieve this, two major mechanisms are being proposed: i.) a cross-discipline conference bringing together researcher from all relevant domains and, ii.) a special issue jointly and concurrently published in major journals of the related domains. This is a novel approach to inter- and cross-disciplinary collaboration bringing high innovation potential as well as a non-negligible risk. To this end, the project will also promote and support the creation of new multidisciplinary journals covering key Internet Science areas, also through innovative online publishing platforms, using open data access. Apart from these cross-domain and multi-disciplinary measures, the work will also be promoted within each discipline through the organization of special sessions during the major international conferences and the organization of specific workshops to provide forums for enhancing the NoEâ€&#x;s work and making the various Internet Science areas of focus visible to the broader community. SEA4 Organisation of Call for Proposals To further open the Network of Excellence in Internet Science to the public, the project will organize open calls for proposals to finance micro-projects where new partners can participate along with the original members. Through this instrument, EINS aspires to attract new members and new innovative activities into the consortium, enriching its skills and expertise as deemed appropriate during the course of EINS. Moreover, these open calls will permit to carry out in depth research in selected areas of Internet Science. Management Activities To support a numerous and diverse consortium as EINS, its work plan includes the following WPs. MA1 Review, Assessment and Reporting This workpackage will ensure the timely reception of the periodic progress reports for each activity and partner, assess the quality of the work in progress and prepare the responses to requests from the Steering Board and the Commission before their final submission. MA2 Administration This activity will deal with the effective coordination of the project activities in administrative, technical and financial terms and effective communication with EC authorities. Among others, this activity will guarantee the quality of submitted reports, the adherence of the work to the plans, resources and timing.
An outline of the Network of Excellence in Internet Science (EINS) Research Project