“Reverse Traceroute,” a paper describing a UW CSE network measurement innovation, has been named the “Best Paper” of this year’s USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design & Implementation (NSDI). The paper was authored by UW CSE graduate students Ethan Katz-Bassett and Harsha Madhyastha (now a postdoc at UCSD); UW CSE undergraduates Justine Sherry, Colin Scott, and Peter van Wesep; UW CSE faculty members Arvind Krishnamurthy and Tom Anderson; and University of Minnesota graduate student Vijay Kumar Adhikar.
Traceroute is the most widely used Internet diagnostic tool today. Network operators use it to help identify routing failures, path inflation, and router misconfigurations. Researchers use it to map the Internet, predict performance, geolocate routers, and classify the performance of ISPs. However, traceroute has long had a fundamental limitation that affects all these applications: it does not provide reverse path information. Although various public traceroute servers across the Internet provide some visibility, no general method exists for determining a reverse path from an arbitrary destination, without control of that destination. Reverse Traceroute addresses this longstanding limitation.