Queen’s University and Rakuten Mobile to set up Edge Computing hub in Belfast

Published:  09 January, 2020

Rakuten Mobile, Japan’s newest mobile network operator, is collaborating with Queen’s University Belfast to set up an Edge computing hub, which will be based in Belfast.

Edge computing will impact every Internet user in the world as it will become the way the Internet will work behind the scenes. It is a next generation computing model and will revolutionise the way society uses the Internet.

Dr Blesson Varghese, lecturer in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s, is leading the project.

He explains: “Currently, processing of all data we generate usually happens on geographically distant clouds. As billions of devices are getting connected to the Internet, we need more sustainable and scalable architectures for computing. They must not solely rely on distant centralised clouds.

“Edge computing will bring certain services of applications closer to the users on the edge of the network. This will make applications more responsive, reduces bandwidth demand in the network core.”

The key mission of the project is to make edge computing a reality. At the hub, a team of PhD students and a post-doctoral researcher will research and develop the underlying approaches for safely delivering edge services, efficiently managing the end-to-end activities of an application, and continuously monitoring the infrastructure to allow an application to seamlessly adapt to changes.

Dr Pierre Imai, head of research and innovation at Rakuten Mobile, said: “Rakuten Mobile aims to be the most technologically advanced telecommunications provider in the world. To achieve this, we have established a new lab to make a truly autonomous network a reality.

“Through our collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast, we have the opportunity to work with leading researchers in the edge computing field, and the results should allow us to provide a better service and a greater level of convenience to our customers.”

Dr Varghese from Queen’s University adds: “In a society where we rely heavily on gadgets and apps for everyday activities, Edge computing is vital if we are to ensure the Internet’s future efficiency. This academic and industry collaboration will allow Queen’s and Rakuten Mobile to develop cutting-edge research and lead the area.”

Image caption: Pictured (l-r) are: Stephen McCabe, Business Alliance Manager at Queen's University Belfast; Professor Karen Rafferty, Head of the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Queen's University Belfast; Dr Blesson Varghese, Lecturer in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and a Fellow of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) at Queen’s; and Stuart Campbell, Business Development Manager at the Centre for Data Science and Scalable Computing at ECIT.

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