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DPDK Dev Spotlight: Sean Cummings Makes his Mark in the DPDK Ecosystem

In the dynamic world of software development, where innovation and skill merge to push the boundaries of technology, Sean Cummings stands as a bright example as a new contributor to DPDK. Currently working as a Student Assistant in Scientific Networking at ESnet, Sean is carving his path in the field of high-performance networking, a journey that started at Illinois Tech under the mentorship of Professor Sultana.

Early Beginnings

Sean’s foray into software development began with his academic pursuits in computer science, where he quickly found himself immersed in the complex world of computer networking. His academic endeavors led him to work on a groundbreaking 100Gbps SIIT-DC stateless NAT64 translator project utilizing P4 on FPGAs.

DPDK: A Game-Changer

The project revealed the limitations of P4 in handling complex packets, which steered Sean towards DPDK. Embracing DPDK as an offload solution, Sean quickly recognized its potential as a vital tool in his development work. His experience with DPDK has been transformative, making him an advocate for its use in high-performance networking.

Contributing to the DPDK Community

Sean’s involvement with DPDK is not just as a user but as an active contributor. He underscores the importance of contributing to communities like DPDK, as it fosters growth and innovation. Sean is particularly excited about the potential applications of DPDK in developing security-related applications.

Getting Involved

For those interested in DPDK, Sean recommends starting with installing it and experimenting with sample applications. This hands-on approach allows one to appreciate the capabilities of DPDK and potentially lead to more complex, personalized projects.

Problem Solving

One of the most impactful pieces of advice that has shaped Sean’s journey is the emphasis on understanding the problem before embarking on the coding journey. This approach underlines the fact that the essence of programming lies in problem-solving, a philosophy that has steered Sean through his developmental endeavors.

Indispensable Tools

As a programmer and researcher, Sean emphasizes the importance of tools like vim (one of the most popular text editors among Linux users) in his daily work. For him, vim is not just a tool but an integral part of his coding and research process.


Sean represents the new generation of developers who are not just proficient in their craft but are also deeply involved in contributing to and growing with their communities. His journey with DPDK is a testament to his dedication and passion for high-performance networking.

Looking to get started with DPDK? Visit the quick start guide here