26 September 2015

Cognition-based, A.I. and Telcos infrastructures: distinctions without differences

This is an interesting position paper addressing the so-called Cognition-Based Networks, where optimization is achieved by using learning and distributed intelligence. Specifically, the paper proposes to combine a learning architecture with the emerging “softwatization” paradigms (SDN, NFV), eventually providing concrete application cases.

What I like most of this paper, apart the vision, is the technical approach, deeply interdisciplinary and calling for the synergic combination of know-hows of networking engineers, IT experts, cognitive scientists. Have a look at this post “Designing AI Infrastructures that Sustain the Human Race”: isn’t this the same story ? A.I. Infrastructures, Cognition-based Infrastructures, Telecommunications Infrastructures will all converge into one pervasive and distributed “Nervous System” of the Digital Society and Economy. Distinctions without differences.

This will be achieved by: pervasively sensing and collecting massive data (by sensors, terminals, smart things, machines, robots, drones, etc); exchanging data (via fixed and mobile high bandwidth and low latency links); elaborating quickly big data (with Cloud/Edge/Fog Computing) in order to make decisions (e.g., with A.I., cognition methods, algorithms, heuristics) for actuating local actions (by any actuators)…The global picture also includes 5G and IoT.

Let's overcome distinctions creating fragmentations. At the end of the day, it's about exploiting the overall control loop of “collective intelligence”, common to a bee-hive and any nervous system of a living entity! Extracting value from the information embedded in multiple interactions to achieve optimization, or, if you prefer, adaptation. 

We shouldn't consider this bio-inspired perspective simply a speculation:  look at it, it may open new industry roles and new service paradigms: for example the role of enabling “collective intelligence” services for the Digital Society and Economy, for the human race sustainability.

At the end of the day, any surviving open ecosystem is pursuing (and always reaching, otherwise it will disappear) “optimization”, as the best possible adaptation to the environment.

It’s a simple law of Nature.

05 September 2015

When the Central Office will become a Data Center (or viceversa)

This presentation (by ON.Lab, in partnership with AT&T, at ONS2015) is attracting a growing interest in the international initiatives which are dealing with activities about SDN-NFV innovation and standardization.

In particular, the presentation (CORD or "Central Office Re-architected as a Datacenter) proposes a software architecture for transforming a Central Office in a Data Center by adopting commodity hardware and open source software.

Personally I believe that CORD is very brilliant approach to exploit enabling technologies such as SDN, NFV and Cloud Computing to simplify architectures and operations of a Telecommunications infrastructure, whilst providing flexibility. SDN, NFV and Cloud Computing will integrate each other around a generalised concept of service.

In fact, the service is becoming the unifying element (for resources, infrastructure and platforms), the unit of orchestration. This is paving the way to the model X-as-a-Service (which is Everything-as-a-Service), the Holy Graal for any strategical role a Service Provider may want to take. 

The core of CORD is the so called "X-Operating System" (X-OS), the equivalent of an Operating System for a SD-Infrastructure. X-OS integrates with OpenStack and ON.OS: the former for the aspects of the management / orchestration of the virtual infrastructure (e.g., Virtual Machines instantiated on commodity servers) the latter for the control of Virtual Networks (e.g., through the scheduling of switching fabric of the equipment).

My take is that technical approaches like CORD will soon pave the way to a world-wide diffusion of "Softwarization" of Telecommunications. This will definitely create new ecosystems and a booming of start-ups at the edge.

Please join the IEEE SDN Technical Community (free registration at http://sdn.ieee.org/ ) which I am the General Chair of. Today, we are 2500 sharing a dream: making our open innovation a powerful instrument for contributing to the development of a sustainable and inclusive Digital Economy, to improve quality of life and to create new jobs for the future.