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QNRF-Funded Team Gains International Recognition for Research on Cloud Computing
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QNRF-Funded Team Gains International Recognition for Research on Cloud Computing

The research outcomes will be instrumental in developing Qatar’s technology infrastructure

Two research papers resulting from a QNRF-funded project, “Middleware Architecture for Cloud-Based Services Using Software Defined Networking (SDN) (NPRP6-901-2-370),” have received best research paper awards. The paper entitled “Optimal virtual network function placement in multi-cloud service function chaining architecture” was published in Computer Communications, Vol. 102, in April 2017 and received the journal’s 2020 Best Research Paper Award. In the short time since its publication, the paper has already received around 99 citations according to Google Scholar. Previously, another paper related to the same project won the best paper award in the Cloud Computing and Data Center Systems category of the 7th IEEE Annual Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference (CCWC) in 2017.

The research project explored the field of cloud computing, which, in today’s rapidly evolving digital age, is imperative for governments, businesses, and corporations to harness the power of the latest emerging ICT technologies to remain competitive and function efficiently. Cloud computing, in layman’s terms, is a technology that enables people to use online services that are generally available through any device with an internet connection without having to be at a specific location or having to take care of one’s own infrastructure. Cloud computing has grown manifold in popularity and utility, and people around the world rely on it to use online services like Netflix, Spotify, and Airbnb. As we grow more reliant on remote work and the critical services powered by the cloud, it is likely that cloud computing will be key to business resilience in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatar realizes the importance of establishing a cloud technology infrastructure, as it has been included as a target outcome in the Qatar Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. Therefore, the research team led by Dr. Mohammed Samaka, and including Dr. Deval Bhamare from Qatar University, Dr. Aiman Erbad from Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and Dr. Raj Jain and Dr. Lav Gupta from Washington University in St. Louis designed their project to explore the optimal deployment of large applications on a distributed multi-cloud infrastructure and enable the network traffic to flow smoothly through the underlying network, resulting in optimal quality of experience to end-users. Commenting on the project, Dr. Samaka said that the research envisioned the oncoming of multi-cloud infrastructures as, today, it has become a de-facto model in most large applications, including those relating to telecommunications, airlines, and mobile applications.

According to Dr. Aiman Erbad, one of the principal investigators, Qatar has invested heavily to encourage the development of an advanced national cloud computing infrastructure with local and international industrial partners as announced by the Ministry of Transportation and Communication in QITCOM 2019. This project has a significant scientific impact in the area of cloud networks as attested by the prestigious awards, and the scientific outcomes of the project that have laid the foundations for tackling different challenges in multiple other projects. Moreover, the findings of the project have also been instrumental in revamping the graduate course in Distributed and Cloud Computing offered by Qatar University, impacting tens of graduate students and building capacity in this critical area over the last four years.

The research team is hopeful that this project will be helpful for the business industry, as the majority of business applications on internet today are too large and complex to be handled by a single cloud. It will also be particularly beneficial to Qatar, which is home to several businesses that can benefit from the multi-cloud deployment, as they have international footprints and already use multiple clouds in different countries, including Ooredoo, Vodafone, Dolphin Energy, QNB, RasGas, Qatar Gas, Qatar Airways, and Al Jazeera.

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