KCN: Knowledge Centric Networking


KCN (Knowledge Centric Networking) is a research project funded by the EPSRC as part of the TI3 (Towards Intelligent Information Infrastructures) programme. Having started in October 2014, research in the project will be carried out jointly by University College London, the University of Surrey and the University of Bristol over a period of three years.

The recent advent of killer applications such as content distribution, cloud computing and Internet of things, all require the underlying network to be able to understand specific service contexts. The project will propose a Knowledge Centric Networking (KCN) paradigm, in which knowledge is positioned at the centre of the networking landscape. The key objective is to enable in-network knowledge generation and distribution in order to develop necessary network control intelligence for handling complexity and uncertainty. In order to achieve this, specific algorithms and mechanisms/protocols will be developed for knowledge acquisition, processing, dissemination and organisation both within single and across homogeneous/heterogeneous administrative domains in the Internet.

The project will investigate three styles of knowledge exchange based on Software Defined Networking (SDN) principles: Knowledge as a Tool (KaaT), Knowledge as a Service (KaaS) and Knowledge as a Cloud (KaaC). KaaT will enable intelligent network operations in dynamic network environments driven by knowledge gathered at different vantage points. We advocate a hierarchical knowledge framework in which knowledge and control functions are distributed at the right places within the network for fulfilling specific control tasks. In addition, we will invetigate knowledge sharing between different players in the Internet marketplace. This can be achieved either through explicit knowledge transfer from a knowledge provider to a knowledge consumer (KaaS), or based on open knowledge clouds where knowledge prosumers may publish or subscribe to information through an open but controlled knowledge ecosystem (KaaS).

The proposed KCN architecture will be validated through two complementary use cases. KCN-driven content traffic offloading between heterogeneous radio access technologies for the future mobile Internet aims to achieve adaptive resource control by taking into account a wide variety of knowledge associated with content, users and network conditions. In addition, KCN-driven energy management targets cross-layer energy saving techniques at both the IP and the physical optical layer according to the derived knowledge and dynamically changing context information.

The top-level objectives of the KCN project are the following:

  • Design an architecture for enabling in-network knowledge creation, distribution, storage and processing, both within a single domain/player and across potentially heterogeneous domains/players;
  • Define information models and communication mechanisms for supporting intra-/inter-player knowledge dissemination and sharing;
  • Design and develop software-defined networking (SDN) mechanisms for implementing the proposed knowledge-driven network control;
  • Validate and evaluate the proposed knowledge-centric ecosystem through specific use cases on selected network platforms by using analytical modelling, simulation and also by conducting realistic testbed experiments.

The KCN-based knowledge ecosystem will equip the next generation Internet with necessary intelligence for handling complex requirements under dynamic conditions. Such an ecosystem, seamlessly coupled with the SDN architecture, will be able to gracefully support the ever increasing complexity and heterogeneity of future networked services and multitude of users.

Copyright © 2014 The KCN Consortium.