UofG signs knowledge-exchange agreement with Rakuten Mobile

Published: 1 July 2020

University of Glasgow computing scientists have signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile, Inc. to carry out collaborative research in the field of edge computing.

University of Glasgow computing scientists have signed an agreement with Rakuten Mobile, Inc. to carry out collaborative research in the field of edge computing.

Based on the agreement, Rakuten Mobile will provide financial and other support to a post-doctoral research assistant and two PhD students of the university’s School of Computing Science for 24 months and 42 months respectively and carry out collaborative research on edge computing, specifically on monitoring models and future transport protocols.

The research will be led by University of Glasgow senior lecturers Dr. Colin Perkins and Dr. Jeremy Singer. The aim of the research is to prototype next generation edge management tools to simplify the operation of large-scale edge compute infrastructure, as found in 5G networks and beyond, and the services that operate upon them, making it possible to realize highly secure, optimized, low latency communications.Two headshot pictures of Dr Colin Perkins and Dr Jeremy Singer arranged side-by-side

“Edge computing plays a vital role in further improving the efficiency of Rakuten Mobile’s end- to-end fully virtualized cloud native network,” commented Dr. Pierre Imai, Head of Research and Innovation at Rakuten Mobile. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to work with the world class team at the University of Glasgow on the research into these advanced technologies.”

The team at the University of Glasgow bring extensive experience with in-network and edge computation, transport protocols, and programming language runtimes, and operating the EPSRC-funded FRμIT testbed that prototyped new approaches to edge computing.A close-up of a stack of Raspberry Pi computing boards, as used in research by the School of Computing Science

The FRμIT testbed used hundreds of nodes built from hardware such as the Raspberry Pi to develop a UK-wide compute cluster for key distributed applications. The project aimed to demonstrate that low-cost, low-power computing infrastructure could provide an alternative to the centralized datacenter model, which demands large amounts of land, power and bandwidth to run.

“We look forward to working with the team at Rakuten Mobile," said Dr. Colin Perkins. “This gives us a unique opportunity to apply our research to help improve the management of an advanced 5G network, while giving our PhD students the opportunity to learn from deployment experience and improve the next generation of network protocols and standards.”

Dr. Jeremy Singer added: "This collaborative project plays to our strengths at Glasgow, where we have a unique blend of expertise in systems software and applied networking. The postdoc and PhD students on the project will benefit greatly from the real-world industrial context of the research – not an ivory tower in sight, instead the more pragmatic cell towers of a deployed 5G network."

Through this collaborative research with the university, Rakuten Mobile aims to address technical challenges related to effective management of edge compute resources and low- latency traffic; key drivers for 5G infrastructure and services. The new approaches will provide a reliable framework for the future, on which effective and manageable current and future services can be built.

First published: 1 July 2020

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