Strathclyde partners with Rakuten Mobile to further research on autonomous networks

Close up image of people holding mobile phones

The University of Strathclyde and Rakuten Mobile, Inc. announced today a research partnership to realise the vision of developing a unified approach for a fully autonomous mobile network that will be able to monitor, repair and adapt to future use requirements independently. 

Rakuten Mobile is Japan’s newest mobile network operator, having launched the full-scale commercial service on the world’s first fully-virtualised cloud-native mobile network in April 2020. The company also plans to create a fully-autonomous network that will reduce maintenance costs and enable new functionality.

Evolutionary algorithms

The research partnership will be led by Dr Pierre Imai, Head of Research & Innovation at Rakuten Mobile and Dr Marc Roper, Reader in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, who will lead the University of Strathclyde’s involvement in developing and evaluating the necessary evolutionary algorithms needed to create a fully-autonomous network.

“Traditionally, tasks in areas such as network monitoring, anomaly detection, optimisation and problem solving have been carried out by human engineers, but with the rollout of 5G and IoT, and the massive increase in the number of connected devices and applications they are expected to bring, this will no longer be practical,” said Dr Pierre Imai.

“Autonomous networks will play a key role in adapting the networks of the future, and we are excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the world class team at the University of Strathclyde on research into the field of autonomous networks.”

“Because Rakuten Mobile’s network is already fully-virtualised and cloud-native, it is ideally positioned to accommodate the changes arising from the introduction of evolutionary algorithms into the system,” said Dr Marc Roper.

We look forward to applying our unique research in machine learning, especially evolutionary algorithms, to help improve the efficiency of advanced mobile networks and provide our PhD students the opportunity to benefit from real-world context of their research.”

The two-year project will see Rakuten Mobile fund two postdoctoral research assistants and the recruitment of a PhD student.