I saw Dilip give a talk about Policy aware switching at syslunch last year, and have liked the idea ever since.
The premise is: Given that we middleboxes are here to stay and account for a huge percentage of network errors because they are so complex to configure, we should use a mechanism that doesn't require middleboxes to be placed on the physical path between end points. PLayer allows for policy to be specified at a centralized location using a standardized API.
I know that we just end up repeating ourselves with each new idea that we address in this class, but on the Yanpei scale, this one seems to be in the earlier stages of progress towards practical or popular adoption, which I guess is good for the authors since it leaves room for more papers as progress is made!
I loved that they included a section on formal analysis, and what i feared would be dense math that I would want to skip over turned out to be simple enough to make sense and add to the paper.
I am also taking CS270 Algorithms this semester and think that exposure to nearly all of the theoretical algorithms we are studying would be much more effective if they were presented in the context of the systems that they are most useful in. This is why I love these networking papers so much, in spite of my/our ever sounding complaint that these aren't practital enough for Cisco to pick up.