Hyrax: Crowd-Sourcing Mobile Devices to Develop Edge Clouds

Research teams: CMU; INESC TEC; NOVA.ID.FCT; IT
Organizations: Geolink; Wavecom; YinzCam
Main Research Area:  Cloud Computing; Mobile Distributed Computing; Security
CMU Portugal Program webpage: http://www.cmuportugal.org/tiercontent.aspx?id=5230
Principal Investigators: Fernando Silva (INESC TEC; FCUP); Priya Narasimhan (CMU; CS/ECE)

Mobile devices have traditionally been considered as devices that serve primarily as user-input devices, (thin clients or edge devices), but are expected to offload the intensive processing to servers (non-edge, back-end). As technology advances, there is now the potential to consider mobile devices as “thick clients,” or even further, to rethink them as “thin servers”. Given the proliferation and enhanced capabilities of mobile devices, the possibility of a “wireless cloud of nearby smartphones” is now within grasp.

The Hyrax project proposes a novel vision of a hyperlocal edge-cloud, i.e., a computational/storage cloud comprised solely of a collection of nearby wireless edge devices, that pools these devices’ processing power and data, to support a new class of proximity-aware applications that benefit the users. The premise behind these edge clouds is that all of the constituent nodes are edge (and not server-caliber) computers, and that any and all computation is performed completely within the edge cloud, i.e., there is no offloading/tethering of the computation/data to a non-edge, back-end, traditional-cloud infrastructure.