“In 2003, anyone searching for the term ‘autonomic communication’ on Google would have found two references. As of November this year, there are almost twenty one thousand,” says Mikhail Smirnov of the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) in Berlin.
Professor Smirnov coordinates the ACCA project, a Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) initiative that ended in September 2006. He and his colleagues have played a large role in raising awareness of this new field, and they are rightly proud of the phenomenal progress of autonomic communication. Smirnov points to a dozen journals on the subject, multiple IEEE and IFIP conferences, four EU integrated projects and several similar projects set up by leading European telecom companies.
The partners in ACCA were responsible for setting a research roadmap, rising awareness and bringing together relevant but disjoint efforts within related initiatives. Though some of these initiatives focus on work unlikely to generate market-ready technology for some years, others are linked to more market-oriented research, including several projects under the IST programme – Ambient Networks, E2R and others.
“Our main achievement was getting the Autonomic Communication Forum (ACF) up and running,” notes Smirnov. Launched in Brussels in late 2004, the ACF already has more than 230 members.
The forum is building a global research community for autonomic communications, and will eventually become an industry standardisation body. The body is built on the premise that a new form of networking – one that is self-organising, self-managing, context-aware and autonomous – is the best way to handle the internet’s growing complexity and the demands placed on it.
Smirnov underlines the fact that the project was deliberately extended to allow the team to stay together for Autonomic Networking 2006, a conference held in Paris from 25-29 September 2006. The project team took charge of an ACF session, which resulted in ACF decision to respond to any future calls under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in a coordinated manner.
Asked for a brief definition of autonomic communication, Smirnov replies “self-management”. But he notes that the term encompasses a host of other technologies, all of which begin with the word “self”. Among them are self-awareness, self-configuration, self-healing and self-implementation.
“Together these technologies allow a network to automatically address many of today’s internet challenges,” says Smirnov. They could, for instance, help networks to guarantee online identity – thus tackling the lack of security and trust still associated with web commerce.
Autonomic communication could also benefit next-generation networks. Smirnov notes how internet service providers (ISPs) struggle to manage wholesale interfaces – the interface for data traffic between themselves: “Corporate and retail customers stay within a network, so ISPs can prioritise the way they handle this traffic and charge more. But when traffic crosses wholesale interfaces, prioritisation mechanisms break down and ISPs find it harder to charge for service differentiation. Self-management could change that.”
Future networking technologies will also have to solve many internet problems at once. Autonomic communications represent a new design approach to such problems. They offer manageability and therefore address the question of complexity – which Smirnov calls “the big challenge”, especially for telecom companies.
“Top of the pyramid of technologies is self-management. We believe this is the solution to networking complexity,” Smirnov says. “Not least because it is unaffected by hardware and software developments.”
He adds that although self-management makes a system apparently simpler for an administrator, below the surface the complexity is still there. “It’s not about putting intelligence into hardware, but making networks behave intelligently without human intervention.”
One of the companies attracted by the project was Gingko Networks – a start-up company in autonomic communication. “Its multi-agent approach works on network functionality,” says Smirnov. This system calls on several autonomic communication features, and is already in use by France Telecom.
He emphasises, however, that the project partners were involved in coordination rather than technical work: “We made sure researchers were on the right track, and that projects were building a consensus on a roadmap for this networking solution – one example of which is the Self-Management Technology Platform.”
Smirnov expects autonomic communication to have a major impact within five years. “Companies like my own are working on related technologies, systems and services. The look and feel of communication devices will change, facilitating communications with one’s community."
"Today, these communications are via an ISP or gateway – in future people will be connected directly to their contacts,” says Smirnov. Ultimately, he adds, the telecom business model needs reinventing to enable better links between users, content and service.
Jernett Karensen | alfa
Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches
25.05.2018 | Universität Ulm
Supercomputing the emergence of material behavior
18.05.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences