Content-Based Networking

A content-based network is a novel communication infrastructure in which the flow of messages through the network is driven by the content of the messages, rather than by explicit addresses assigned by senders and attached to the messages. A content-based network complements traditional unicast and multicast addressed-based networks, providing improved support for the communication modes underlying large-scale, loosely coupled, multi-party, distributed applications such as auctioning, information sharing, information fusion and dissemination, sensor grids, personalized news distribution, service discovery, and multi-player games. What these applications have in common is a communication style in which the flow of messages from senders to receivers is determined implicitly by characteristics of the receivers, rather than explicitly through knowledge of destinations by senders.

In a content-based network, receivers declare their interests to the network by means of predicates, while senders simply inject messages into the network at the periphery. The network is responsible for delivering to each receiver any and all messages matching the predicate declared by that receiver. As in traditional address-based networks, the delivery function is performed incrementally by passing messages between intermediate nodes in the network. The delivery function consists of two interrelated subfunctions: routing and forwarding. Routing amounts to establishing flow paths through the network by compiling and positioning local forwarding tables at each node. A forwarding table contains the information necessary for a node to decide to which neighbor node or nodes a given message should be sent; the processing of a message at a node is the forwarding subfunction. Taken together, the forwarding performed at the nodes causes messages to be routed through the network.




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We would like to thank David Rosenblum for the numerous discussions that helped shape and refine the ideas presented here.
this page is maintained by Antonio Carzaniga and was updated on September 15, 2019