Prof. Wählisch co-chairs the ACM CoNEXT 2021 Interdisciplinary Workshop on (de)Centralization in the Internet (IWCI).
Our rapidly digitizing world is undergoing a transformative change on a scale of the industrial revolution. The digital platform has increased the opportunities for ever larger actors to attain economies of scale that are inaccessible to all but the very largest. The distortions created by these small number of dominant digital giants in the business and technology landscape has resulted not only in unparalleled efficiencies of the production of goods and services but also with the downside risks of technology monocultures, monopolies, and critical points of vulnerability.
This one-day workshop aims to offer everyone, who is interested in the causes and the nature of risk and reward trade-offs of consolidation, an opportunity to share results and insights. The workshop takes a broad, interdisciplinary view of the Internet consolidation trend and decentralization efforts, which may have implications on current and emerging network technologies. Topics include but are not limited to:
Measurement, simulation, or analytical results from recent or ongoing efforts that show quantifiable evidence of the trend of centralization and consolidation in the Internet infrastructure, services, and applications, together with the insight into the driving forces for this trend.
Results from investigations into building decentralized services and applications, together with the insights into the most critical factors that enable such decentralized designs in today’s pervasively consolidated deployment environments, and the factors that may have contributed to unintended outcomes that further reinforced service aggregation.
Analysis of existing or experimental decentralization protocols and applications, with insights into (a) their most critical factors that should lead to cost effective operations, and/or (b) potential road bumps, technical or non-technical, that may block them from reaching their intended goals.
Recent discussions suggest that multiple factors have driven the deployed Internet into today’s consolidation: economy of scale, big data advantages, and in particular the lack of security in general outside the iron castle. We welcome position papers that brainstorm/articulate whether viable countermeasures (can) exist, provided that they clearly articulate how these countermeasures directly address the causes of centralization.