Delay Tolerance for the Internet Computer
Hello, dearest reader!
I have sent a few messages in the ICPMN Telegram about this topic, and was recommended to ask a few questions here. I’ll start with the premise of the idea.
Basically, I have access to a datacenter for my courses and we are to pick a project and implement it in the datacenter. I aim to implement a delay tolerant network in the datacenter, and the idea of how the Internet Computer would work over said network arose.
What is Delay Tolerant Networking?
The initial conception of delay tolerant networking arose due to the fact that communication between planets has significant latency and is in certain cases completely impossible. It is used by the likes of NASA for communicating with the Mars Rover, Voyager, and the likes. These are not the only uses for it, and there are Terra to Terra communication use cases such as remote villages using various methods to send and receive data. It relies on opportunistic links and scheduled links to transmit data. If a link is not available, the data will be held until it is and transmitted when possible. Standard protocols like TCP and UDP are unreliable and sometimes completely unusable in these conditions, therefore DTN and Bundle Protocol was concepted.
What does this have to do with the Internet Computer?
The way I see it, the Internet Computer is, down the line, going to be communicating with destinations such as Mars, or even further. The way it works now, as I understand it, does not take this into account. We have decades before this becomes a significant problem, but I do not believe it would hurt anything to begin researching how this will work sooner, rather than later. And once the research is in progress, I have faith that terrestrial uses will pop up as well.
My QuestionsFirst and foremost, does anyone else think this is a viable research opportunity?
Secondly, would it be possible for a node on the network to be flagged as a research node? This datacenter is student ran, and may face downtime. Not only the downtime, but the node will likely be going up and down constantly as the research is carried out. The node as I see it would have to be flagged as a research node that should not be used for essential services. I believe this would require a vote to be ran to add a new node distinction.
Third, could there be some leniency on the node hardware requirements? This applies if the answer to the fourth question is no. I am not entirely sure if the datacenter has a PowerEdge 6525 or 6515, nor a SuperMicro 1023US-TR4. If it does not, would it be possible to run the node software inside of a Virtual Machine or other available hardware for the sake of this research?
Fourth, are there any research grants available for the Internet Computer? If so, this would allow the research into this to be carried out even once I finish my courses and lose access to the datacenter. I am also not sure if this research would be able to be done in the datacenter available to me, and if a grant is available the ability to perform this research in a proper datacenter would be a reality. It would also enable the research to be able to be performed on the standard hardware as required by the IC as is, without needing leniency on the hardware requirements.
ConclusionThe Internet Computer could benefit greatly by researching integration with Delay Tolerant Networking stacks sooner rather than when it is properly required. The opportunity is in our hands to solve the issues that may arise before they come up, and we can lay the foundation for interplanetary blockchains going forward. This research may not be immediately impactful on the Internet Computer, but by laying the foundations for it, we can save headache going forward as the IC becomes more complex and widespread.