SIDN manages the Dutch national internet domain (.nl) and therefore the .nl part of the DNS. Our DNS infrastructure is distributed all around the world and we process an average of fifteen thousand DNS queries a second. And, although the name SIDN isn't immediately familiar to the man and woman in the street, almost every Dutch internet user makes use of our services on a daily basis. So we play a key role at the very heart of the internet.
If that kind of thing fires your mind, doing your final study project at SIDN Labs may suit you to a tee!
SIDN Labs is SIDN's R&D arm, which develops and evaluates new technologies and systems with a view to further enhancing the stability and security of .nl, the DNS and the wider internet. We often work with R&D partners, such as the University of Twente, Delft University of Technology, TNO, en NLnet Labs.
The results of our work include prototypes, performance analyses, standards, articles and reports. SIDN Labs focuses on four themes:
- DNS-scalability and security
- DNS 'big data' research
- Privacy and identity management
- New identifier and naming systems
Under the internet's hood
We aim to constantly provide opportunities for final-year students to undertake applied research in an impressive IT environment, surrounded by an enthusiastic team of internet experts – both of which are vital for our services. The expectation is that we can learn from each other and work together to acquire new insights and expertise.
We concern ourselves mainly with what goes on 'under the internet's hood' – the mechanics of the net. So, for example, we develop and work on standards such as DNS and DNSSEC, and we conduct studies into the BGP protocol. There's also ample opportunity to do research in the field of 'big data', analysing and visualising the enormous volumes of DNS data on our ENTRADA platform, for instance. Those data can be combined with related datasets, such as registration data from our domain registration system (DRS) or data from external sources.
Who and how?
We set the bar high, both for ourselves and for the students who undertake research at our attractive premises in Arnhem. In most cases, we prefer final-year MSc students. Subject to discussion, we can also offer short-term research opportunities, e.g. based around one-month projects.
Naturally, we look for highly motivated students with a passion for internet technology in general. People who are energised by investigating exactly how mechanisms and systems work and are able to devise and evaluate solutions. Self-starters with enquiring minds, capable of developing proofs of concept.
A number of research projects available to students are outlined below. However, if you've already got a really good idea of your own for a project, just let us know. And if you'd like to know more before applying, simply get in touch.
- Research into new naming and identification systems on the internet
This project involves the analysis of alternatives to the Domain Name System (DNS), which has been the internet's de facto naming system since 1983. Given its age, it is pertinent to ask how sustainable the DNS is and what the protocol's future is. What is the potential of possible alternatives such as NameCoin? Are any of them viable options? Can they match the robustness of the DNS? More
- What shortcomings of the DNS do they address?
Risk analysis of the .nl BGP (anycast) infrastructure
This project involves assessing how the failure of certain parts of the internet would affect the availability of the .nl domain and subordinate second-level domain names. For example, what impact would the failure of a major Tier-1 provider have? And how many .nl domain names would be rendered unreachable by the non-availability of a given Autonomous System Number (ASN)? More
- A time machine for registration data
This project involves using ElasticSearch or a similar non-relational database technology for research that we carry out at SIDN Labs with (historical) registration data on .nl domain names. Because of the size of our dataset (tens of millions of updates to all .nl domain names), our existing relational database environment is no longer adequate, e.g. in terms of performance or user-friendliness. More
- Text mining on the basis of Natural Language Processing
This project involves using Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyse registrant data, e.g. to identify false information and other abuses promptly when a new domain name is registered. More
- Virtual reality interface for data analysis
This project involves designing and developing a virtual reality (VR) interface for the analysis of large volumes of DNS data. The virtual world should enable the user to explore the data on an intuitive basis. The VR interface should also aid the recognition of irregularities and interrelationships. More
- Graph theory for domain name registries
This project involves applying graph theory to the analysis of large volumes of DNS data and related datasets, such as the Whois and registration transactions. More
We'd very much like you to share the results of your research project with the (technical) internet community. Nevertheless, we believe that that's best done on the basis of clear arrangements about things such as confidentiality and security, which are very important to us. Such arrangements will form part of any research agreement that we make with you. That agreement will also cover matters such as your internship fee. In principle, the results of any research you do with us will remain the intellectual property of SIDN.
We can only offer a limited number of places, but if you are interested in one of them, please mail firstname.lastname@example.org, providing