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A Reflection on 2023 – UEC Chair’s Year-End Message

By December 14, 2023No Comments
UEC Chair's Year-End Message

Hello UEC community,

A warm welcome to all our new members and to everyone who has been supporting the community! UEC is an ambitious project driven by a lofty and worthy goal: to create the best Ethernet-based high-performance network for AI & HPC workloads.

As we wind down 2023, let’s take a look at what we accomplished this year and  where we’ll be going in 2024.

At the beginning of the year, we started with relatively modest beginnings. We had a charter, some rather aggressive goals and timelines, and a lot of passion.Along the way, we started to self-organize and find our footing:

  • We established a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), whose charter is to ensure coherency across all the projects in UEC. The TAC took this responsibility seriously, and immediately embarked on herding the cats and corralling ideas into a vision of what the first iteration of a UEC specification would look like.
  • We began forming alliances and partnerships with key industry associations. For instance, we already have partnership/liaison agreements with OCP and IEEE 802.3, and are in discussions with other organizations that focus on management, storage, software, networking, and compliance/testing.
  • We have chartered and founded a total of 8 Working Groups (we started off with 4) to help fulfill the promise of a true “workload-tuned Ethernet protocol” built upon a solid technological foundation.
  • We now have ~40 companies who have joined UEC in less than 2 months, with another ~30 who have requested the charter documentation for joining. We have gone from ~50 individual members to over 300 in less than a month. We are among the fastest, if not the fastest, growing projects in the Linux Foundation to date.
  • Our progress is being followed, and reported on, by The Register, NextPlatform, InsideHPC, Tom’s Hardware, AnandTech, CRN, SDXCentral, and many, many more. We have struck a nerve and are filling a very real need in the industry.

In short, this progress represents  a lot of hard work that would not have happened if it hadn’t been for the dedication of the WG Chairs, draft Authors, and contributing volunteers. It’s a level of dedication that deserves to be specifically called out, because it has been truly impressive.

What about 2024?

As Chair of UEC, I’ve been working on the principle that we will develop a large-scale, highly performant network that rivals and surpasses anything that is currently available today. I also work under the philosophy of, “If you aren’t going to do it right, when are you going to do it over?” In short – we can’t just say we’re going to do it, we have to be careful that we don’t cut corners or race to a finish line while parts are falling off the car. Simply having a “1.0 specification” that doesn’t work (or is so full of holes that you could float a cruise ship through) won’t do anyone any good.

To that end, here are my UEC Objectives for 2024: 

  • Ratify at least a minimal set of drafts across all workgroups that can be implemented in practical, real-world scenarios as a “UEC 1.0 specification.”
  • Establish a compliance and testing program where vendors can validate their products and designs against the architecture
  • Develop a certification program where end-users can confidently and safely implement UEC solutions
  • Nurture and encourage broad-based ecosystem adoption of UEC with sister standards and specification organizations
  • Maintain and cultivate a collegial, approachable, and friendly working environment for all UEC contributors

The culture of UEC is designed to encourage cross-pollination of many different skills and talents across the Ethernet ecosystem – and that should reflect in our human interactions as well. I challenge everyone to consider how to strive towards accomplishing these goals by the end of 2024.

One Last Thing

For those of you who have been involved in UEC from the beginning, I wanted to express my truest and most sincere gratitude. 2023 was never easy, not by a long shot. Nor was it simple. And yet, we have built (and are still building) something that we can be proud of, and it’s my goal to pursue that even further into the next year(s) with your help. So, please accept my most sincere and profound thanks for all the hard work, hours, and dedication to this experiment-turned-experience.

To each of our members, both novice and veteran, thank you for your support of UEC and working to fulfill its promise as the premier AI & HPC high-performance networking standard. On behalf of the Steering Committee, we look forward to even greater things in 2024.



J Metz, Ph.D.

Chair, Ultra Ethernet Consortium