Retiring Seattle Testbed -- 10 Years and Thousands of Users.

2018-06-26 · Posted by: Justin Cappos · Categories: SeattleSensibility · Comments

Ten years ago, I (Justin Cappos) wrote the first few lines of code in a Python based sandbox called Repy, intended for use in a new peer-to-peer cloud environment. This started a project that featured code contributions from over 100 participants, was used by over four thousand developers, and was installed on tens of thousands of devices.

Seattle provided students, developers, and educators a chance to run code on different computers, phones, and servers around the world. This was often used to relay traffic from a foreign location, giving students the opportunity to explore how the Internet’s performance varies from different parts of the world.

Due to the tireless effort of many students to improve Seattle’s ease of use and pedogical value, the Seattle Testbed was featured in many papers and given a number of awards. Student contributions, in particular undergraduates, always played a heavy role in Seattle’s growth. This includes many students who won prestigious awards for their research (multiple CRA Outstanding Researcher and NSF Fellowship Awards), students who got top industry jobs (at Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple, etc.), even some who founded their own company (including Justin Samuel, who founded ServerPilot and Armon Dadgar and Mitchell Hashimoto, co-founders of Hashicorp).

Of course, graduate students and senior researchers also played a major role.
Among the PhD students, Ivan Beschastnikh (now a professor at UBC), created the first version of the Seattle clearinghouse. Albert Rafetseder did a lot of research using the Seattle testbed as a PhD student and later became the lead for the Seattle Testbed. His efforts were not only essential for keeping the testbed running, but also helped to grow and strengthen the platform.

Notable amongst the uses of Seattle testbed was the creation of Sensibility Testbed. Yanyan Zhuang (now a professor of UCCS), led the Sensibility Testbed project, a sensor-focused, smartphone variant of Seattle that uses much of its codebase. Sensibility testbed has been the subject of many successful hack-a-thons and has been an enjoyable project to work on. However, with Seattle being retired, Sensibility also will not be continued.

While Seattle (and Sensibility) will still be supported and used in the classroom, no substantial development will be done other than bug fixes. We appreciate the dozens of instructors that used Seattle (in about 100 classes), the thousands of developers that built applications, and the thousands of students that used Seattle in the classroom. Thank you all for your support!