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Enhancing Computing Power at the Edge


As part of its mission to transition the technologies it develops into use, in 2015 the SEI made its implementation of tactical cloudlets, KD-Cloudlet, freely available in its open source code repository on GitHub.

To support their missions, military and emergency personnel operating in crisis and hostile environments increasingly use mobile applications. Most of these applications perform computation-intensive tasks, such as speech and image recognition, natural language processing, and situational awareness enhancement. These tasks take a heavy toll on a mobile device's battery power and computing resources. Unfortunately, battlefield and disaster environments are not only at the edge of the network infrastructure but are also resource constrained.

Cyber-foraging augments the capabilities of resource-limited mobile devices by leveraging computing resources in the surrounding environment. Cloudlet-based cyber-foraging relies on discoverable, generic, forward-deployed servers located in single-hop proximity of mobile devices.

Using KD-Cloudlet, developers can turn any system running Linux—from a laptop to a more powerful server—into a discoverable source that can be used by nearby mobile devices for computation offload and data staging.

The KD-Cloudlet tool's release springs from several years of SEI research into the use of cloud computing at the tactical edge. The research into the needs and constraints of tactical environments drove the development of the tactical cloudlets. SEI researchers collaborate in this ongoing research with the creator of the cyber-foraging and cloudlet concepts, Dr. Mahadev Satyanarayanan of CMU.

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