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Network Working Group Bob Thomas RFC # 504 BBN NIC # 16155 April 30, 1973

                       Workshop Announcement

Title: Automated Resource Sharing on the ARPANET

Date: Monday May 21, 1973

Time: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Place: Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge, Mass.

Hosts: TENEX and TIP Groups at BBN


This workshop will focus on various aspects of the question:

  What steps can be taken to automate access to the distributed
  resources on the ARPANET?

In particular, how can we move from where we are today toward an environment which facilitates resource sharing by moving the burden of dealing with the network from the human user to processes which act on his behalf? Additionally, operating systems themselves perform various operations not directly initiated by human users which could better be performed with the availability of resources on other systems (e.g. file system backup); how can we move toward an environment which facilitates such system-system cooperation?

Objectives of Workshop:

1. To identify and clarify the issues raised by automated resource

  What are the obstacles preventing more widespread resource sharing
  on the ARPANET?  Are they technical, political, administrative in
  nature?  Is it that there are few resources worth sharing (we don't
  think so)?  Is automated sharing a bad idea (We don't think so)?

Thomas [Page 1] RFC 504 Workshop Announcement April 1973

2. To identify resources at various network sites appropriate for

  automated sharing; and to identify the need for resources which
  don't but should exist.

3. To formulate a series of experiments for the purpose of evaluating

  relative merits and disadvantages of different approaches to
  automating resource sharing.
  The intent of such experimentation is to gain experience through
  construction and use of prototype systems which support automated

Format of Workshop:


In order to get the workshop "up to speed", each participant will be expected to give a brief presentation of relevant work he (his site) is currently engaged in, is planning to do, or to identify and discuss issues he feels are relevant to the subject. Time will be allowed for brief discussion after each presentation.


General discussion of the issues raised during the morning session. Possible subjects for discussion include (but need not be limited to):

1. Identification of possible multi-site "services".

  Intersite mail, terminal linking, status information are some
  examples - what are others?

2. Identification of resources appropriate for remote utilization.

  File systems, compilers, on-line query systems, manuscript
  preparation systems are some examples - what are others?

3. Access to remote resources.

  Possibility of access paths other than the standard logger port.  To
  what extent (if at all) can the access paths to a variety of
  different resources be standardized?  How can resources which may
  move from Host to Host or may be available on several Hosts be
  dynamically located and selected for use?  The need for
  (desirability of) a "broadcast ICP".

4. Problems of accounting for resource utilization.

  Some form of network wide accounting would be a great convenience.
  For example, it would be nice if a user could use the same account
  at many (all?) sites.  What are the problems (if any) preventing

Thomas [Page 2] RFC 504 Workshop Announcement April 1973

5. Problems of security and access control.

  Authentication of users/processes attempting to use resources.  As
  with network wide accounts, the ability to use the same name and
  password at all sites would be convenient.  How can a user's
  password and other sensitive data be protected in such an
  The notion of a third party password validation and user
  authentication service.

6. Approaches to automating resource sharing.

  It is possible without difficulty to identify several which on the
  surface appear to be different:
  a.  Multi-site executive programs which make resources accessible to
      the user at the command language level; e.g.  the inter-site,
      user-user interaction and file maintenance activity supported by
      the RSEXEC.
  b.  A programming language environment designed to facilitate
      resource sharing; e.g. LISP is a machine independent language -
      one could imagine a multi-computer LISP system which supported
      automated resource sharing.
  c.  The "collect a resource" approach - identify an Editor here,
      file storage service there, a compiler somewhere else, etc; and
      build a "workshop" environment which provides convenient access
      to these resources.
  What are the relative merits and disadvantages of these approaches?
  What aspects do these approaches have in common?  Is it possible to
  identify a common base capable of supporting them all?

7. Protocols to support automated resource sharing.

  It would be inappropriate to attempt to generate a detailed protocol
  specification at this workshop. However, it is appropriate to
  discuss the kinds of activity a protocol should support. Existing
  protocols (excepting Host-Host protocol and possibly, the new TELNET
  protocol) appear to be oriented toward human users. Automated
  resource sharing suggests processes acting on behalf of human users
  to interface to remote resources; this in turn suggests that the
  protocols should be highly process oriented. For example, because
  there should be minimal human intervention in error recovery, the
  protocols should be extremely robust; e.g., include well specified
  time outs, etc.

Thomas [Page 3] RFC 504 Workshop Announcement April 1973


If you are planning to attend the workshop, please notify Bob Thomas at BBN (send net mail to BTHOMAS@BBN, telephone (617) 491-1850, x483). If you would like us to make motel reservations for you (at the homestead Inn at Fresh Pond) call Mrs Terry Bernier at BBN (x545).

It is possible that a single day will prove to be insufficient for this workshop. If that is the consensus of the attendees, the workshop will continue through Tuesday May 22.

Position papers, memos, notes, etc. prepared by participants in advance of the workshop will help contribute to the success of the workshop and are requested. All such papers received before May 11 will be distributed, in advance, to workshop attendees.

The following questions may be helpful in focusing your thinking:

- What resources would your site be willing to make available for use in

automated resource sharing experiments?

- Under what conditions would your site be willing or able to

participate in such experiments?

- What administrative and/or technical considerations would prevent your

site from entering into a network wide resource sharing agreement?

- If you employ accounting Procedures that require cost recovery, how,

if at all, should they be modified to work in a network resource
sharing environment?

Reading List:

We are aware of little that has been written on the subject of automated resource sharing. However, the following items are relevant (at least marginally) to the workshop. Please inform us of others of which you are aware.

1. ARPANET NEWS, Issue 2, Report on COMPCON 73 "Birds of a Feather

  Session" on Resource Sharing Networks, NIC 15337.

2. "A Resource Sharing Executive for the ARPANET", R. Thomas, Preprint

  of paper for 1973 National Computer Conference, BBN Report 2522, NIC

3. "Terminal Access to the ARPANET - Experience and Improvements", N.

  Mimno, B. Cosell, Walden, et. al., COMPCON 73 Proceedings, NIC

4. "A Tentative Proposal for a Modified User Protocol", M. Padlipsky,

  RFC 451, NIC #14135.

Thomas [Page 4] RFC 504 Workshop Announcement April 1973

5. "Interentity Communication - An experiment", R. Bressler, R. Thomas,

  RFC 441, NIC 13773.

6. "Netbank", J. Postel, RFC 408, NIC #12390.

     [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
     [ into the online RFC archives by Alex McKenzie with    ]
     [ support from GTE, formerly BBN Corp.             9/99 ]

Thomas [Page 5]

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