Loughborough University has a strong tradition of industry-based research projects and, in association with one of the leading defence prime contractors, funded post-graduate research into increasing the dependability of dynamic military systems, with a focus on the quality of service.
Peter Bull, a research associate within the team that proposed and carried out this research into the dependability of dynamic military systems, explains the reasoning behind it.
“As users, we sometimes need to understand where the information comes from, though in some cases knowing who created the data is unimportant. On this occasion we focused on receiving ‘all’ the information required in a fast and concise manner,” says Bull.
He continues: “The problem is that data is being developed and disseminated by a variety of different providers, offering complimentary information on different sites. There is a need in the industry to take different applications and match them dynamically, looking closely at the quality of deliverable service to end-users. I wanted to see if I could develop an algorithm that would seamlessly and dynamically integrate the information for end-users.”
The research was carried out within the Department of Computer Science at Loughborough University and Bull took an existing avionics architecture and started working on integrating a dynamic behavioural algorithm within the software architecture. The purpose of the algorithm was to increase the performance of the applications across a myriad of different network conditions.
“In abstract terms,” explains Bull, “I created a ‘data centric publish/subscribe architecture’, where applications can publish a type of data that’s available, and other applications can subscribe to that type of data, without the two necessarily needing to be aware of each other before run-time.”
The project explored the benefits for the dependability of future dynamic systems, built on a publish/subscribe model, from using Quality of Service (QoS) methods to map application level data communication requirements to available network resources.
The delivery of a good Quality of Service (QoS) continues to be of prime importance, especially when applied to the performance of applications across networks. The ability to achieve satisfactory levels of QoS can be influenced by network characteristics such as bandwidth limitations, distance (latency), packet loss etc.
With the increased trend towards the use of converged networks and cellular/radio networks by the military, there was a need to ensure their potential impact was taken into consideration as part of this research project.
To address this, Bull deployed iTrinegy’s network emulation technologies to create a test-bed that enabled him to replicate different network characteristics in order see how they really impacted the behaviour of an application, and the associated quality of the service delivered.
iTrinegy’s network emulator products recreate a wide range of network environments such as WAN, virtual, public/private cloud, mobile network or a converged network of multiple networked environments.
Bull used the company’s INE Nimbus network emulator to, not only simulate different networks, but to also explore how elements such as loss and delay were impacting the integration of the different applications and data feeds.
Bull notes: “The iTrinegy network emulator does exactly what we need it to do and will continue to be used on the current and future projects.”
Peter Bull is a former Research Associate at Loughborough University - The project Peter was involved with was entitled: ‘A Quality of Service Framework for Dynamic, Dependable Systems’ and the subsequent research project that focused on the test-bed called: ‘Quality of Service Negotiation for Improved Dependability in Distributed Systems’.
The QoS negotiation algorithm from the ‘A Quality of Service Framework for Dynamic, Dependable Systems’ project has now been published within an international conference paper. https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/9832