The BCDC Cloud team is led by Professor Jussi Kangasharju. His team at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki consists of postdoctoral researcher Walter Wong, doctoral students Otto Waltari, Aleksandr Zavodovski and Pengyuan Zhou. They working on distributed computation and the communication between the users and the cloud. Nitinder Mohan also participated in the Cloud team’s research until the defending of his doctoral thesis on edge computing platforms and protocols (Nov. 2019).

In the picture: Members of Jussi Kangasharju’s team. Photo: Kati Leinonen.

Traditional cloud services are implemented with servers in data centres, which is still a common and a reliable method for their operation. Modern cloud computing research, however, investigates whether distributing cloud services would be a more efficient way of providing them, much in the same way as information distribution services have already been distributed. This would move us from centrally managed servers to distributed computation at the edge of the network and opens up the following two central themes in the BCDC Energy project.

Advantages of distribution

Two central advantages of distributing cloud services are as follows. First, it enables us to leverage green energy at the network level, by routing data through networks and servers who are able to use renewable energy for their operation. Second, it provides a natural counterpart to the distributed energy production control in BCDC Energy, making the whole system easier to control and optimize. Both research questions are central to the BCDC Energy project.

Local services

Bringing network services closer to the users also brings advantages to them. Because the services are implemented near the users, they also react faster and can be better tailored to the individual needs of the users. In addition, this enables services tailored for specific user communities, as well as community-implemented services; these would be harder and less flexible to implement and manage in traditional, centralized cloud solutions. Distribution offers a more flexible means for developing and implementing local services.

Figure: Focus areas of research conducted by the BCDC Cloud team.