COLLABORATION

Queen’s University, Rakuten Mobile deliver edge computing to Belfast

SOURCE: NASA/Unsplash
Edge computing is the future of network connectivity.

Queen’s University Belfast is partnering up with Japan’s leading mobile network operator Rakuten Mobile to establish a high-tech edge computing hub in Belfast. 

The new hub will deliver the latest in edge computing to provide residents in Belfast with faster and more responsive network connectivity. 

Rakuten Mobile will provide support to the university over the next three years to train researchers and carry out collaborative research at the hub. 

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Edge computing is a next-generation computing model that will revolutionise the way society uses the internet. 

As opposed to cloud computing, which many leading corporations still use today to access centralised data clouds which are sometimes located far from the source, edge computing is a faster alternative that cuts down loading times for apps and uses up much less bandwidth. 

“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,” said Queen’s University Lecturer in the School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Fellow of the Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology (ECIT) Dr Blesson Varghese in a media release

“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.” 

Varghese has been appointed to lead the project with Rakuten. A team of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers will be appointed at the hub and will focus on the project’s key mission to make edge computing a reality. 

edge computing
Researchers in the hub will work on the delivery of edge computing to the region. Source: Alina Grubnyak/Unsplash. 

Research work will involve developing 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 the new model.  

“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,” said Rakuten Mobile Head of Research and Innovation Dr Pierre Imai. 

“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.”

Edge computing provides benefits in the form of better data-privacy, latency and bandwidth and more major corporations are jumping on the bandwidth to provide the fastest internet infrastructure to users. 

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The existence of faster networks such as 5G will serve as a prime environment for edge computing systems to be able to support next-generation applications in real-time such as video processing and analytics, self-driving cars, artificial intelligence and robotics. 

“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,” added Varghese. 

The newly established hub in edge computing aims to improve not only latency and throughput between the cloud and applications but it will also be a vital stepping stone for making a truly autonomous mobile network a reality.