Section: Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry

Bilateral Contracts with Industry

Neo members are involved in the

  • Inria-Nokia Bell Labs joint laboratory: the joint laboratory consists of five ADRs (Action de Recherche/Research Action) in its third phase (starting October 2017). Neo members participate in two ADRs: “Distributed Learning and Control for Network Analysis” (see §8.1.1) and “Rethinking the network: virtualizing network functions, from middleboxes to application” (see §8.1.2).

  • Inria-Qwant joint laboratory “Smart search is privacy” (see §8.1.3);

  • Inria-Orange Labs joint laboratory (see §8.1.4).

Neo has contracts with Accenture (see §8.1.5), Azursoft (see §8.1.6), MyDataModels (see §8.1.7), Huawei (see §8.1.8), and Payback Network (see §8.1.9).

ADR Nokia on the topic “Distributed Learning and Control for Network Analysis” (October 2017 – September 2021)

Participants : Eitan Altman, Konstantin Avrachenkov, Mandar Datar, Maximilien Dreveton.

Over the last few years, research in computer science has shifted focus to machine learning methods for the analysis of increasingly large amounts of user data. As the research community has sought to optimize the methods for sparse data and high-dimensional data, more recently new problems have emerged, particularly from a networking perspective that had remained in the periphery.

The technical program of this ADR consists of three parts: Distributed machine learning, Multiobjective optimisation as a lexicographic problem, and Use cases / Applications. We address the challenges related to the first part by developing distributed optimization tools that reduce communication overhead, improve the rate of convergence and are scalable. Graph-theoretic tools including spectral analysis, graph partitioning and clustering will be developed. Further, stochastic approximation methods and D-iterations or their combinations will be applied in designing fast online unsupervised, supervised and semi-supervised learning methods.

ADR Nokia on the topic “Rethinking the network: virtualizing network functions, from middleboxes to application” (October 2017 – September 2021)

Participants : Sara Alouf, Giovanni Neglia.

A growing number of network infrastructures are being presently considered for a software-based replacement: these range from fixed and wireless access functions to carrier-grade middle boxes and server functionalities. On the one hand, performance requirements of such applications call for an increased level of software optimization and hardware acceleration. On the other hand, customization and modularity at all layers of the protocol stack are required to support such a wide range of functions. In this scope the ADR focuses on two specific research axes: (1) the design, implementation and evaluation of a modular NFV architecture, and (2) the modelling and management of applications as virtualized network functions. Our interest is in low-latency machine learning prediction services and in particular how the quality of the predictions can be traded off with latency.

Qwant contract on “Asynchronous on-line computation of centrality measures” (15 December 2017 – 14 May 2020)

Participants : Nicolas Allegra, Konstantin Avrachenkov, Patrick Brown.

  • Contractor: Qwant

  • Collaborators: Sylvain Peyronnet, Thomas Aynaud

We shall study asynchronously distributed methods for network centrality computation. The asynchronous distributed methods are very useful because they allow efficient and flexible use of computational resources on the one hand (e.g., using a cluster or a cloud) and on the other hand they allow quick local update of centrality measures without the need to recompute them from scratch.

Orange CIFRE on the topic “Self-organizing features in the virtual 5G radio access network” (November 2017 – October 2020)

Participants : Eitan Altman, Marie Masson.

The considerable extent of the complexity of 5G networks and their operation is in contrast with the increasing demands in terms of simplicity and efficiency. This antagonism highlights the critical importance of network management. Self-Organizing Networks (SON), which cover self-configuration, self-optimization and self-repair, play a central role for 5G Radio Access Network (RAN).

This CIFRE thesis aims at innovating in the field of managing 5G RAN, with a special focus on the features of the SON-5G. Three objectives are identified: a) develop self-organizing features (SON in 5G-RAN), b) develop cognitive managing mechanisms for the SON-5G features developed, and c) demonstrate how do the self-organizing mechanisms fit in the virtual RAN.

Accenture contract on the topic “Distributed Machine Learning for IoT applications” (Dec 2019 – May 2020)

Participant : Giovanni Neglia.

IoT applications will become one of the main sources to train data-greedy machine learning models. Until now, IoT applications were mostly about collecting data from the physical world and sending them to the Cloud. Google’s federated learning already enables mobile phones, or other devices with limited computing capabilities, to collaboratively learn a machine learning model while keeping all training data locally, decoupling the ability to do machine learning from the need to store the data in the cloud. While Google envisions only users’ devices, it is possible that part of the computation is executed at other intermediate elements in the network. This new paradigm is sometimes referred to as Edge Computing or Fog Computing. Model training as well as serving (provide machine learning predictions) are going to be distributed between IoT devices, cloud services, and other intermediate computing elements like servers close to base stations as envisaged by the Multi-Access Edge Computing framework. The goal of this project is to propose distributed learning schemes for the IoT scenario, taking into account in particular its communication constraints. This 6-month contract prepares a CIFRE.

AzurSoft contract on the topic “Proof of concept on automatic detection of false alarms” (May 2019 – April 2020)

Participants : Konstantin Avrachenkov, Andrei Bobu.

Intrusion detection or telesurveillance systems generates signals from sensors that allow to raise alarm and start a checking procedure for a potential intrusion or anomaly. Typically, one telesurveillance system surveys many sites and is challenged by a stream of false alarms. In this project, we aim to reduce the rate of false alarms by using various supervised and semi-supervised learning methods.

MyDataModels contract on the topic “Semi supervised variational autoencoders for versatile data” (June 2019 – May 2022)

Participants : Konstantin Avrachenkov, Mikhail Kamalov.

Variational autoencoders are highly flexible machine learning techniques for learning latent dimension representation. This model is applicable for denoising data as well as for classification purposes. In this thesis we plan to add semi-supervision component to the variational autoencoder techniques. We plan to develop methods which are universally applicable to versatile data such as categorical data, images, texts, etc. Initially starting from static data we aim to extend the methods to time-varying data such as audio, video, time-series, etc. The proposed algorithms can be integrated into the internal engine of MyDataModels company and tested on use cases of MyDataModels.

Huawei CIFRE on the topic “Scalable Online Algorithms for SDN controllers” (June 2016 – May 2019)

Participants : Zaid Allybokus, Konstantin Avrachenkov.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies have radically transformed network architectures. They provide programmable data planes that can be configured from a remote controller platform.

The objective of this CIFRE thesis was to provide fundamental answers on how powerful SDN controller platforms could solve large online flow problems to optimize networks in real-time and in a distributed or semi-distributed fashion. We use methods from both optimization and dynamic programming.

Consulting contract with Payback Network (November 2019 - January 2020)

Participant : Giovanni Neglia.

  • Contractor: Payback Network

  • Collaborators: Tanguy Racinet, Anne Legencre

Consulting with the startup Payback Network on differential privacy techniques.