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Queen’s University Belfast and Rakuten Mobile set up edge computing hub

Aiming to boost its plans to make truly autonomous networks a reality, Japanese operator Rakuten opens a new lab in collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast to develop edge computing hub

Japan’s newest mobile network operator Rakuten Mobile has announced a collaboration with Queen’s University Belfast to set up an edge computing hub in the city as part of a project to whose 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 analyse 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.

The university believes that in a society where people and businesses will rely heavily on gadgets and apps for everyday activities, edge computing is vital to ensure the internet’s future efficiency. It regards the academic and industry collaboration as allowing both Queen’s University Belfast and Rakuten Mobile to develop cutting-edge research and lead the area.

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.

Explaining the aims if the project, he said: “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.

Rakuten and Queen's University Belfast
Representatives from Rakuten Mobile and Queen’s University Belfast celebrate their collaboration

“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.”

Pierre Imai, head of research and innovation at Rakuten Mobile, added: “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.”

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