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Crowd-Sourcing Mobile Devices to Develop Edge Clouds

Portuguese PI – Fernando Silva (INESC TEC; FCUP) 
CMU PI – Priya Narasimhan (CS/ECE)

Research teams: Carnegie Mellon University (CMU); Instituto de Engenharia de Sistemas e Computadores, Tecnologia e Ciência (INESC TEC); Associação para a Inovação e Desenvolvimento da FCT (NOVA.ID.FCT); Instituto de Telecomunicações (IT)
Organizations: Geolink; Wavecom; YinzCam
Main Research Unit: Center for Research in Advanced Computing Systems (CRACS)  

Funding Reference: FCT CMUP-ERI/FIA/0048/2013 
Duration: 48 months 
Keywords: Cloud Computing; Mobile Distributed Computing; Security

“The Hyrax team is excited by the paradigm shift potential that the technology to be developed in the project will have in transforming the mobile and cloud landscapes, namely, enabling an whole range of crowd-sourcing applications that cannot exist today.” 

Fernando Silva and Priya Narasimham

Mobile devices have traditionally been viewed as “thin clients” or “edge devices” that serve primarily as user-input devices, but that are expected to offload the compute-intensive processing to (non-edge, back-end) servers. With technology advances, there exists the potential now to view mobile devices as “thick clients,” and going even further, to rethink them as “thin servers”. Given the proliferation and enhanced capabilities of mobile devices, the realization of a “wireless cloud of nearby smartphones” is now within grasp. 

The Hyrax project proposes a novel vision of a hyperlocal edge-cloud, i.e., a computational/storage cloud comprised solely of a collection of nearby wireless edge devices, with the purpose of pooling these devices’ data and processing power to support a new class of proximity-aware applications that benefit the owners of these devices. The premise behind these edge clouds is that all of the constituent nodes are edge (and not server-caliber) computers, and that any and all computation is performed completely within the edge cloud, i.e., there is no offloading/tethering of the computation/data to a non-edge, back-end, traditional-cloud infrastructure.

Articles published: 

Edge clouds: Soon in the Portuguese Stadiums and Taxis [Exame Informática – January 2015]