Artificial intelligence for Data Center Operations: Sant’Anna school and VODAFONE REINFORCE THEIR STRATEGIC partnership for joint research EFFORTS

Vodafone and Sant’Anna School reinforce their on-going collaboration in the context of the project “Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Network Function Virtualization (NFV)”, involving the TeCIP Institute of Communication, Information and Perception Technology, with two research positions now open to applications.

Vodafone and Sant'Anna have established a multidisciplinary collaborative research partnership on "AI for NFV" since April 2018, investigating on how to exploit novel algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning techniques to optimize the management of virtualized network functions, towards a future self-organized and self-healing infrastructure.

The two research positions just made available in this context, with on-line applications due on October 7th, constitutes a unique postgraduate opportunity for applicants willing to deepen their knowledge in this area and gain a valuable practical experience. Under the academic supervision of Tommaso Cucinotta, Professor in Embedded Systems at the TeCIP Institute, and Antonino Artale, leading the “Network Virtual Infrastructure Design” team in Vodafone, the selected candidates will help designing and realizing AI-enhanced, large-scale, big-data processing pipelines able to process real data coming from the Vodafone data centers, so as to provide solutions able to respond to complex and challenging problems in Data Center operations, such as performance monitoring and troubleshooting, anomaly detection, capacity planning, resource optimization and failures prediction, so to increase reliability of the infrastructure.

These tasks will help minimizing the time spent on manual and error-prone tasks by data center operators, and pinpointing in space and time the areas of possible intervention by operators, so as to establish the foundations of future AI-enhanced data center automation for virtualized network functions.

Since 2018, the project has been carried out through the establishment of a multi-disciplinary team from the TeCIP Institute involving the RETIS Lab for the competencies on Real-Time operating systems, virtualization and performance engineering, the PERCRO and ICT-COISP Labs for the skills on big-data processing and machine learning for Complex Industrial Systems, and the INRETE Lab for additional support on the design and analysis of next-generation telecommunication networks. The team has worked extensively leading to a number of software tools ready to be used in the Vodafone production environment, and producing two recently filed Vodafone/Sant'Anna jointly owned patents. The next stage will be publishing research results in prestigious scientific journals.

The "AI for NFV" project will add to the on-going collaborations between the TECIP institute and renowned national and international industrial players. According to Cucinotta and Artale, it constitutes a unique opportunity for junior researchers to apply and refine their academic skills and competencies, working with real data sets to develop and support future networking technologies, including those needed for future 5G networks.