Software Defined Cognitive Networking: Intelligent Resource Provisioning For Future Networks

Lead Research Organisation: University of Northampton
Department Name: Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology


The non-cooperative competition of network resources between a growing number of adaptive media applications has a significant detrimental impact on user experience and network efficiency. This can lead to knock-on effects to the digital economy and digital public services, which are increasingly dependent on high quality and reliable media streaming. Existing network infrastructures often prioritise improved network coverage and fast packet forwarding functions, which do not always effectively contribute to the improved user experience. Ultimately, the quality of user experience and network efficiency are the two of the most important benchmarks for online media distribution. Future network management must leverage application and user-level cognitive factors in order to allocate scarce network resources effectively and intelligently. this First Grant project aims at developing software defined cognitive networking (SDCN) to ensure the user experience, user-level fairness and network efficiency of online adaptive media using SDN-assisted and QoE-aware resource management. SDCN will lay the groundwork for a great leap from the conventional resource provisioning and traffic engineering schemes to context-aware network management.

In order to achieve its objective, the project will develop a cognitive model based on the analysis of human factors of adaptive media experience, iterations of subjective experiments, and data modelling. The model will enable a non-intrusive QoE assessment service that monitors adaptive media flows and estimates their perceptual user experience using a number of application, service, and network-level metrics. The model will use a purpose-built multi-objective resource allocation function to derive optimal solutions to provision available network resource for the improved user experience, fairness and network efficiency in a network segment.

Planned Impact

The project aims at delivering scientific, societal, industrial and economic impact.
For scientific impact, the project will deliver impact through publications, workshops, academic visits, and student training. The team will aim at publishing SDCN research outcomes such as design, implementation, and experimental results in conference and journals in the areas of multimedia, HCI and networking. This will stimulate further collaborations and innovations on this emerging topic. The team will also participate relevant events hosted by the EPSRC or EPSRC-supported projects. We will visit project partner and other UK research institutions who work on relevant topics to exchange research ideas and to form future collaborations. We will also engage university students to inspire future research on networking and computing technologies. This activity will contribute to the PI's teaching on networking and media technologies. Students will have the opportunities to use SDCN as a use case to study data modelling, online media, software-defined networks, and problem-solving skills.
Public engagement and social enterprise are the main tools for societal impact. We will use a dedicated project website, social media and audio-visual presentations to engage research communities, university students, and the public. As part of the host institution's STEM-themed activities with local schools, the PI will also create opportunities for pupils to engage with novel research from SDCN. We will look into exploiting and transforming technologies developed in SDCN project for the improvements of citizen and environmental wellbeing. Challenges related to data communications in public transportation, health and safety are the expected areas of the impact on social enterprise.
The PI and his team will maximise the industrial impact through industrial engagement, industrial workshop and technology and knowledge transfer. Our partnership with HPE Aruba will provide us with business insights, collaborations with their research and development departments, and access to research facilities. Through industrial engagement, the SDCN team will explore opportunities to pilot technologies derived from the project in industrial prototypes or trial user services. The PI will organise a workshop on cognitive networking in conjunction with a conference with significant industrial attendance. The workshop will provide an ideal platform to stimulate discussions and collaborations with elite researchers and engineers on future intelligent infrastructure design. It will also help disseminating research outcomes from SDCN and other EPSRC-supported projects. We'll release technical demonstrations in the form of live demo, offline sandpit playground, or audio-visual presentation. The intellectual property of our development has the potential for commercial exploitation through licensing.
With respect to the economic impact, the development of SDCN will contribute to the growth of media and internet sector in the UK, and cherish new markets in the area of IoT and creative media while maximising the value of any investment in the networking infrastructure. The project will also provide a strong use case that further drives the growth in fog computing and NFV in the UK.


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