ICIN 2020: Innovation in Clouds, Internet and Networks

By Noël Crespi - Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Telecom SudParis, France and Walter Cerroni - University of Bologna, Italy

The 23rd Conference on Innovation in Clouds, Internet and Networks (ICIN 2020) took place on February 24-27, 2020 at Orange Gardens, the Research and Innovation Campus of the Orange Group located in Châtillon, a small town in the outskirts of Paris, France. The conference was technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Communications Society and held in cooperation with ACM SIGMOBILE. Patrons that supported ICIN 2020 include Orange, Huawei, Nokia, Gandi.net, Systematic Paris-Region, and DNAC. The conference was attended by 103 registered participants from 25 different countries around the globe: 70 percent were from Europe, 20 percent from Asia and the Middle East, and 10 percent from the Americas. The delegates represented both academia (48 percent) and industry and research institutions (52 percent). As with all previous editions of ICIN since its inception in 1989, ICIN 2020 provided presentations on the latest research and development projects in the field of communications and networking, including topics such as 5G, network slicing, security, machine learning, cloud computing, and network management.

The main theme of ICIN 2020 was “Beyond 5G: Building Network Sense,” as the focus of the conference was on new ideas and novel approaches to foster future service delivery in a smart network environment, able to show what could be qualified as sense: “a sane and realistic attitude to situations and problems”, according to Oxford Dictionary.

The overall organization of the conference was led by General Co-Chairs Diego R. Lopez (Telefonica, Spain) and Bruno Chatras (Orange Labs, France). The Technical Program Committee (TPC) was coordinated by Walter Cerroni (University of Bologna, Italy) and Shingo Ata (Osaka City University, Japan). Noël Crespi (Institut Mines Télécom, France) supervised the whole event as Steering Committee Chair.

On Monday, February 24, two co-located workshops were held: the 1st Workshop on Flexible Network Data Plane Processing (NETPROC 2020) and the 7th International Workshop on the Recursive InterNetwork Architecture: Challenging RINA (RINA 2020). The workshops program included 10 technical presentations, four invited talks, one demonstration and a tutorial with a hands-on session, with an overall attendance of about 50 participants.

The first day of the conference, Tuesday, February 25, started with three tutorials held in the morning in two parallel sessions, chaired by Tutorial Co-Chairs Barbara Martini (CNIT, Italy) and Rogier Noldus (Ericsson, Netherlands). The first tutorial on “High-speed software networks and machine learning: a hands-on overview of AI techniques for network data” was presented by Leonardo Linguaglossa (Telecom PairsTech, France). The speaker presented the theoretical background for a better understanding of the challenges related to the AI+NFV environment. Then, participants were guided to reproduce most of the presented results using open-source free-to-use libraries, such as pyTorch, DPDK, and MoonGen. The second tutorial on “Distributing intelligence through cloud-to-edge and decentralised technologies” was presented by Domenico Siracusa and Daniele Santoro (FBK, Italy). The presentation was given live with the speakers connected remotely, due to the travel restrictions that were starting to be enforced in northern Italy due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Despite that, the tutorial successfully showcased the fog computing system proposed by the EU-Korea project DECENTER, presenting practical yet innovative solutions to orchestrate IoT and computing resources in a distributed fog environment leveraging an extension of Kubernetes (called FogAtlas) and the Ethereum blockchain. Finally, the third tutorial on “Evolution of Service Deployment in the 5G Radio Network and 5G Core Network” was presented by Rogier Noldus (Ericsson, Netherlands), who discussed some of the latest architectural principles of 5G, including but not limited to, cloud RAN, distributed RAN, edge computing, user plane optimization, network slicing and exposure.

The conference included five inspiring keynote speeches by renowned, top-level experts, invited by Keynote and Panel Co-Chairs Alex Galis (UCL, UK) and Dirk Kutscher (University of Emden, Germany). Three keynotes were presented on Wednesday, February 26: “Network Modeling: Finding the Right Level of Abstraction” by Jim Kurose (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), “Softwarization and IoT evolution” by Lefteris Mamatas (University of Macedonia, Greece), and “Network Operations and AI” by Rafia Inam (Ericsson, Sweden). The other two keynotes were given on Thursday, February 27: “A Speed of Light Internet Service Provider” by Bruce Maggs (Duke University, USA) and “Refurbishment of the IP Framework after 50 years of operations” by Zhe “David” Lou (Huawei Technologies, Germany).

Out of 69 total submissions, 22 full papers and three short papers were selected for presentation at the conference. The program consisted of seven full-track technical sessions on the following topics:

  • Network Orchestration and Automation, chaired by Barbara Martini (CNIT, Italy)

  • 5G Networks, chaired by Muge Sayit (Ege University, Turkey)

  • Network Slicing, chaired by Prosper Chemouil (formerly with Orange Labs, France)

  • Improving Service Performance, chaired by Amina Boubendir (Orange Labs, France)

  • Network Security, chaired by Ved P. Kafle (NICT, Japan)

  • Machine Learning and Analytics, chaired by Piotr Boryło (AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland)

  • Detection, Identification and Diagnosis, chaired by Daishi Kondo (Osaka Prefecture University, Japan)

After a thorough selection, made by the General Co-Chairs and TPC Co-Chairs and based on the review scores as well as on the quality of the presentation, the ICIN 2020 Best Paper Award was given to the paper “An Efficient Traffic Steering for Cloud-Native Service Function Chaining” by Boutheina Dab, Ilhem Fajjari, Mathieu Rohon, Cyril Auboin, and Arnaud Diquélou.

During the conference, six demonstrations and three posters were showcased in two different sessions, held during networking breaks. Demos and posters were also briefly introduced in a sort of “Elevator Pitch” session held on Wednesday, February 26, where each demo or poster presenter had five minutes to present their work to the general audience, and convince the attendees to visit their booth and vote for them. Based on the preferences expressed by the participants, the ICIN 2020 Best Demo and Best Poster awards were given to “FogGuru: a Fog Computing platform based on Apache Flink” by Davaadorj Battulga, Daniele Miorandi, and Cedric Tedeschi; and “Creating trust in automation in intent-based mobile network management” by Ville Vartiainen, Dmitry Petrov, and Vilho Räisänen, respectively.

The conference concluded on Thursday afternoon, February 27 with an extremely lively and thought-provoking distinguished expert panel session, moderated by Keynote and Panel Co-Chair Alex Galis (UCL, UK). The panel focused on the topic “In-Network Computing and Programmability” and included expert opinions and stimulating discussions from Bruce Maggs (Duke University, USA), Lefteris Mamatas (University of Macedonia, Greece), Jim Kurose (University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA), Marie-José Montpetit (Concordia University, Canada), and Zhe “David” Lou (Huawei Technologies, Germany).

Once again, after 31 years, ICIN 2020 was a successful event, bringing professionals from around the globe together to share their research and experience in the field of telecommunications and network infrastructures. ICIN remains unique in its field due to the significant involvement of representatives from industry, research institutions and standardization bodies.

We would like to express our deep gratitude to the people that made this possible: all the authors and presenters of the 45 technical, poster, and demo papers selected for presentation, 82 TPC members and 33 additional reviewers, 19 Organizing Committee members, all patrons, partners and technical sponsors, all people involved in the local arrangements, and all the attendees who joined us in Châtillon.

The organization of the next ICIN conference has already started. ICIN 2021 will be held in Paris, on March 1-4, 2021. The call for papers is available on the conference website: https://www.icin-conference.org

Group photo from ICIN day 3.