Nitinder Mohan defends his PhD thesis on Edge Computing Platforms and Protocols

30.10.2019
On Friday the 8th of November 2019, M.Sc. Nitinder Mohan will defend his doctoral thesis on Edge Computing Platforms and Protocols. The thesis is a part of research done in the Department of Computer Science and in the Collaborative Networking research group at the University of Helsinki.

M.Sc. Nitinder Mohan defends his doctoral thesis Edge Computing Platforms and Protocols on Friday the 8th of November 2019 at 12 o'clock noon in the University of Helsinki Chemicum building, Room A127 (A.I. Virtasen aukio 1, 1st floor). His opponent is Professor Abhishek Chandra (University of Minnesota Twin Cities, USA) and custos Professor Jussi Kangasharju (University of Helsinki). The defence will be held in English.

Edge Computing Platforms and Protocols

Cloud computing has created a radical shift in expanding the reach of application usage and has emerged as a de-facto method to provide low-cost and highly scalable computing services to its users. Existing cloud infrastructure is a composition of large-scale networks of datacenters spread across the globe. These datacenters are carefully installed in isolated locations and are heavily managed by cloud providers to ensure reliable performance to its users. In recent years, novel applications, such as Internet-of-Things, augmented-reality, autonomous vehicles etc., have proliferated the Internet. Majority of such applications are known to be time-critical and enforce strict computational delay requirements for acceptable performance. Traditional cloud offloading techniques are inefficient for handling such applications due to the incorporation of additional network delay encountered while uploading pre-requisite data to distant datacenters. Furthermore, as computations involving such applications often rely on sensor data from multiple sources, simultaneous data upload to the cloud also results in significant congestion in the network.

Edge computing is a new cloud paradigm which aims to bring existing cloud services and utilities near end users. Also termed edge clouds, the central objective behind this upcoming cloud platform is to reduce the network load on the cloud by utilizing compute resources in the vicinity of users and IoT sensors. Dense geographical deployment of edge clouds in an area not only allows for optimal operation of delay-sensitive applications but also provides support for mobility, context awareness and data aggregation in computations. However, the added functionality of edge clouds comes at the cost of incompatibility with existing cloud infrastructure. For example, while data center servers are closely monitored by the cloud providers to ensure reliability and security, edge servers aim to operate in unmanaged publicly-shared environments. Moreover, several edge cloud approaches aim to incorporate crowdsourced compute resources, such as smartphones, desktops, tablets etc., near the location of end users to support stringent latency demands. The resulting infrastructure is an amalgamation of heterogeneous, resource-constrained and unreliable compute-capable devices that aims to replicate cloud-like performance.

This thesis provides a comprehensive collection of novel protocols and platforms for integrating edge computing in the existing cloud infrastructure. At its foundation lies an all-inclusive edge cloud architecture which allows for unification of several co-existing edge cloud approaches in a single logically classified platform. This thesis further addresses several open problems for three core categories of edge computing: hardware, infrastructure and platform. For hardware, this thesis contributes a deployment framework which enables interested cloud providers to effectively identify optimal locations for deploying edge servers in any geographical region. For infrastructure, the thesis proposes several protocols and techniques for efficient task allocation, data management and network utilization in edge clouds with the end-objective of maximizing the operability of the platform as a whole. Finally, the thesis presents a virtualization-dependent platform for application owners to transparently utilize the underlying distributed infrastructure of edge clouds, in conjunction with other co-existing cloud environments, without much management overhead.

Availability of the dissertation

An electronic version of the doctoral dissertation is available on the e-thesis site of the University of Helsinki at http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-51-5561-0.

Printed copies will be available on request from Nitinder Mohan: nitinder.mohan@helsinki.fi.