Guest editorial: special issue on transparent computing
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Moving data storage, computing and control into cloud has been a significant trend in the past decade. However, as the explosion of connected lightweight devices drives us to the era of Internet-of-Things (IoT), cloud computing is facing increasing limitations to meet the delay-sensitive, power-constrained and cross-platform service demands of IoT devices and applications. By changing the computing paradigm from server-centric to user-centric, transparent computing provides a promising solution to achieve prompt, energy-efficient, secure and platform-independent service provisioning for lightweight and heterogeneous IoT devices.
Different from cloud computing that handles all the service computation and storage at the server side, transparent computing seeks to jointly leverage local and server computation as well as the computing capability of nearby devices to improve the service performance. By taking advantage of virtualization and streaming service execution, transparent computing can provide on-demand and cross-platform services for heterogeneous terminals and make the whole service provisioning process transparent to users. Benefited from these advantages, transparent computing has attracted significant attention from both academia and industry and brought many successful applications and products over the past decade. However, as we are heading to the IoT era, lightweight and mobile devices become dominating terminals in the Internet and our daily life. Meanwhile, network computing environment gradually evolves into mobile Internet, where mobile devices can request different services via heterogeneous and unstable wireless networks, such as WiFi and cellular. The ever-increasing user demands on lightweight and mobile devices provide great opportunities to exploit transparent computing to build more efficient, powerful and secure terminals, but also bring new challenges for applying transparent computing into new terminals and network environments.
The purpose of this special issue is to investigate the current research trends on addressing the arisen challenges, and help industry and academia better understand recent advances and potential research directions in the developing field of transparent computing. Through an open call for papers and rigorous peer-review, we selected 5 articles from 14 submissions as representatives of ongoing research and development activities. These 5 articles encompass a wide range of research topics covering cache management, resource allocation, code scheduling, data integration and fusion, as well as secure authentication, forming a comprehensive report of the latest research advances in transparent computing.
In the first article, “A Case for Software-Defined Code Scheduling based on Transparent Computing”, Zhou et al. propose a software-defined stream-based code scheduling framework to adaptively assign code computation and storage to appropriate nearby devices/servers with the assistance of performance and capacity monitoring facilities. They also developed a pilot transparent computing system that can support the decoupling of computation and storage of software codes by delivering the codes in a stream-based manner.
In the second article, “A Resource Allocation Model Based on Double-sided Combinational Auctions for Transparent Computing”, Wang et al. focus on investigating an efficient resource allocation model for transparent computing systems in an economic view. By analyzing the quality-of-experience and limited communication bandwidth, they propose a resource allocation scheme based on double-sided combinational auctions to allocate resources between the server side and client side for maximizing the welfare of the whole system.
In the third article, “An Evolvable and Transparent Data as a Service Framework for Multisource Data Integration and Fusion”, Xie et al. design a Transparent Data as a Service framework that combines transparent computing and representational state transfer web services based on linked data, to integrate data from different sources and provision data services in a transparent way. In the proposed framework, consumers can enjoy data services without knowing any details of where and how the data is stored.
In the fourth article, “A Block-Level Caching Optimization Method for Mobile Transparent Computing”, Tang et al. propose a block-level caching optimization method for servers and clients through analyzing the system bottleneck of I/O operations in mobile transparent computing. By designing a bitmap-based data structure for data caching, the proposed method can effectively reduce the number of I/O operations on server disks and improve the concurrency of mobile transparent computing systems.
In the last article, “Secure Ultra-lightweight RFID Mutual Authentication Protocol Based on Transparent Computing for IoV”, Fan et al. construct a secure and efficient data sharing scheme based on transparent computing for Internet-of-Vehicle systems. A secure RFID mutual authentication protocol is also proposed for resisting synchronization attacks by leveraging transparent computing to fully utilize the computation capability of local devices.
We believe that this special issue is delivering the state-of-the-art research on current transparent computing topics, and can attract the attention of the community to devote continuous efforts in addressing remaining open challenges. Finally, we would like to express our appreciation to the authors of all submitted articles and the reviewers for their contributions to this special issue. We also sincerely thank Prof. Sherman Shen, the Editor-in-Chief of Peer-to-Peer Networking and Applications, for his support of the special issue, and Fearon Melissa, senior editor of Springer, for her guidance and great help in the whole production process.