Prof. Antonio Liotta, Chair of Communication Network Protocols
The mission of the Autonomic Networks team is to study and prototype novel communication protocols for ultra-dynamic networked systems. We are keen to understand the requirements of the Future Internet and develop some of the mechanisms that will be part of it. The group finds inspiration in the fundamental principles of autonomic computing and machine learning, and is committed to applying them to the general area of computer networks.
Today’s networks are formed by a complex entangle of heterogeneous devices, terminals and sensors. Soon any appliance or electronic gadget will become part of the big Net. Any networked element is potentially a “transmitter”, a “receiver” and an “information-relay point”. This is already the case, for instance, with Ad Hoc networks and peer-to-peer systems, which are showing the prospects of new forms of communication. The emerging panorama is that of a massive-scale network that changes shape unpredictably but must, nonetheless, respond to any form of demand and must be able to resist to a variety of strains. What the Future Internet will look like is still the subject of animated debates; but we can already see the signs of a network that will form spontaneously, will reach a ubiquitous dimension and will meet the requirements of any communication paradigm.
To cater for the emerging needs of the user and to meet the requirements of the most demanding applications, the network faces the daunting ambition of being adaptive, evolvable and self-optimized. Considering such prospects, we cannot expect that the existing protocols and management tools will be adequate in the near future. The Autonomic Networks team explores mechanisms that enable spontaneous connectivity, opportunistic communication, self-learning and self-control. In our vision, the network is a general-purpose “connectivity machine” that works with any physical transmission media and no matter which application we want to deploy. We should not forget that the ultimate beneficiary is the user, the ordinary people; so we must think beyond the horizon of the current network management capabilities and focus on mechanism that allow managing the quality perceived by the user. When it comes to network management, the human intervention will soon shift towards the management of business workflows, while a new breed of autonomic, self-management mechanisms will do the rest.
To pursue its goals through a multidisciplinary approach, the Autonomic Networks team is embedded within five other groups, which bring together over 70 research groups from the disciplines of computer science, electrical engineering and mathematics:
The activities of the Autonomic Networks team are led by Prof. A. Liotta.