• Joud S. Khoury
  • Chaouki T. Abdallah
Part of the Signals and Communication Technology book series (SCT)


Names make it easier to identify and refer to people and things around us. Restaurants in a city, postal mailboxes on a street, digital files on a computer, and physical interfaces on a router are examples of things we assign contextual names to. Computer networks are no different. We use names so we can identify, share, and locate objects on a network. Networks host objects, including for example nodes, endpoints, services, content, and users. A computer network is essentially intended for delivering and sharing information. The basic primitive needed for successful delivery of information is the ability to discover routes to objects. So in essence, the two most basic abstractions in a computer network are objects and routes. This in a sense defines the purpose of naming in the context of computer networks: to make it easier to discover routes to objects. Almost every networking application relies on naming services, the latter being an integral part of a network architecture. Revisiting the definitions of Shoch, Hauzeur, Saltzer and Karsten, we start by disambiguating the plethora of terms used in the naming literature—name, address, identifier, locator, binding, routing, discovery, mapping, and resolution. We present the definitions and we provide a formalism based on simple relational algebra. The model adds clarity to the discussion by formally representing the main abstractions, their relationships, and the main constraints on them. Such a formalism may be directly fed into symbolic model checkers to explore and check a variety of system level properties. We then examine the properties of names, bindings, and discovery, and we give two illustrative case studies of name services.


Internet Protocol Session Initiation Protocol Attachment Point Distribute Hash Table Domain Name System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joud S. Khoury
    • 1
  • Chaouki T. Abdallah
    • 2
  1. 1.Internetwork Research DepartmentRaytheon BBN TechnologiesBostonUSA
  2. 2.Electrical and Computer Engineering DepartmentUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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