University of Strathclyde to Partner with Rakuten Mobile to Further Research on Autonomous Networks

Tokyo, Japan, Glasgow, U.K., March 9, 2021 - The University of Strathclyde and Rakuten Mobile, Inc. announced today a research partnership to realize 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-virtualized cloud-native mobile network*1 in April 2020. The company also plans to create a fully-autonomous network that will reduce maintenance costs and enable new functionality.

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, optimization 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-virtualized 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.

*1 For a large scale commercial mobile network (as of October 1, 2019). Research: Stella Associa

About Rakuten Mobile
Rakuten Mobile, Inc. is a Rakuten Group company responsible for mobile communications, including mobile network operator (MNO) and mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) businesses, as well as ICT and energy. Through continuous innovation and the deployment of advanced technology, Rakuten Mobile aims to redefine expectations in the mobile communications industry in order to provide appealing and convenient services that respond to diverse customer needs.

About The University of Strathclyde
The University of Strathclyde is a leading international technological university based in the centre of Glasgow.
Inspired by our founding principle as ‘a place of useful learning’, our mission is to make a positive difference to the lives of our students, to society and to the world.
Strathclyde students benefit from an innovative and practical educational experience enhanced by its integration with our research capabilities, high-quality academic resources and an unparalleled industry engagement programme. 
The excellence of our research is evidenced by our position amongst the UK’s top 20 research-intensive universities, according to the Times Higher Education’s analysis of REF2014, and by the growth in range and scale of our research collaborations. 
We have also redefined how we collaborate and work with industry, government and the third sector to ensure innovation and knowledge exchange are fundamental activities that deliver tangible impact. 
Strathclyde was named the Times Higher Education UK University of the Year 2019, the Sunday Times Good University Guide Scottish University of the Year 2020 and was awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its excellence in energy innovation.

*Please note that the information contained in press releases is current as of the date of release.

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