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New EPSRC/FET project on Context-adaptive Content Networking

Awarded to Prof. George Pavlou and Dr Wei Koong Chai
New EPSRC/FET project on Context-adaptive Content Networking

Dr Wei Koong Chai

UCL Electronic and Electrical Engineering has been awarded a new EPSRC/FET project via the CHIST-ERA 2012 call under the Context- and Content-Adaptive Communication Networks (C3N) topic. CHIST-ERA is part of the EU FP7 Programme “Future and Emerging Technologies (FET)”. 

The project is titled “CONCERT: A Context-Adaptive Content Ecosystem Under Uncertainty”. Its objective is to develop a content ecosystem encompassing all relevant players which will be able to perform intelligent content and network adaptation in highly dynamic conditions under uncertainty. This ecosystem will have as basis emerging information-/content-centric networking technologies which support intrinsic in-network content manipulation. The project will consider uncertainty aspects in the following two application domains: a) social media networks based on user generated content and b) CDN-based professional content distribution. Three dimensions of uncertainties will be addressed: heterogeneous and changing service requirements by end users, threats that may have adverse impacts on the content ecosystem, as well as opportunities that can be exploited by specific players in order to have their costs reduced.

In order to manage and exploit the uncertainty aspects, CONCERT defines a two-dimensional content and network adaptation framework that operates both cross-layer and cross-player. First, the decision on any single adaptation action needs to take into account context information from both the content application layer and the underlying network. Second, we consider joint content and network adaptation in order to simultaneously achieve optimised service performance and network resource utilisation. Finally, some complex uncertainty scenarios require coordinated content and network adaptation across different ecosystem players. In this case, inconsistent or even conflicting adaptation objectives and different levels of context knowledge need to be reconciled and are key research issues.

In order to achieve adaptation solutions capable of coping with different uncertainties, the project will develop advanced learning, decision-making and negotiation techniques. Learning will be used for deriving accurate system behavioural patterns according to the acquired context knowledge. This will then drive decision-making functions for taking the most appropriate adaptation actions to address these uncertainties. Negotiation techniques will be used for resolving potential tussles between specific content/network adaptation objectives by different players in the content ecosystem. The project will consider both centralised and distributed approaches in which learning and decision-making processes on adaptation actions can be performed, either at the central adaptation domain controller or in a decentralised manner across multiple network elements. In the latter case, emerging information-/content-centric networks will become much more intelligent, with content-aware devices performing self-adaptation according to their own contextual knowledge but through coordination in order to achieve global near-optimality and stability.

Four internationally renowned institutions form the project consortium:

UCL is the coordinator of the project. The principal investigator is Professor George Pavlou supported by the co-investigator and senior researcher Dr. Wei Koong Chai. They both have extensive experience in the information-centric networking area and have already made significant contributions in this newly emerging research field through the previous EU FP7 COMET project (2010-2013). The CONCERT project started on the 1st of January 2014, it has duration of 3 years and a total budget of €1,297,026.