Digital Twin-Assisted, SFC-Enabled Service Provisioning in Mobile Edge Computing

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
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  • Jing Li
  • Song Guo
  • Quan Chen
  • Zichuan Xu
  • Wenzheng Xu
  • Albert Y. Zomaya

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationIEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing
Publication statusOnline published - 7 Dec 2022


Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) has been identified as a desirable computing paradigm that provides efficient and effective services for various applications, while meeting stringent service delay requirements. Orthogonal to the MEC computing paradigm, Network Function Virtualization (NFV) technology is another enabling technology that provides the network resource management with great flexibility and scalability, where the instances of Virtual Network Functions (VNFs) are deployed in edge servers as Service Function Chains (SFCs) for SFC-enabled services. Although reliable service provisioning in MEC environments is fundamentally important, the deployed VNF instances usually are not reliable, which can be affected by their software implementation, their execution duration, the workload among edge servers, and so on. Empowered by digital twin techniques, the states of VNF instances can be maintained by their digital twins in a real-time manner and their reliability can be accurately predicted through their digital twins. In this paper, we study digital twin-assisted, SFC-enabled reliable service provisioning in MEC networks by exploiting the dynamics of VNF instance reliability. We concentrate on two novel optimization problems of reliable service provisioning: the service cost minimization problem, and the dynamic service admission maximization problem. We first show their NP-hardness. We then formulate an Integer Linear Program (ILP) solution, and devise an approximation algorithm with a constant approximation ratio for the service cost minimization problem. We thirdly provide an ILP solution to the offline version of the dynamic service admission maximization problem. Built upon this offline ILP solution, we also develop an online algorithm with a provable competitive ratio for the problem, by adopting the primal-dual dynamic updating technique. We finally evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithms via simulations. Simulation results demonstrate that the proposed algorithms outperform their comparison benchmarks, and improve the performance of their comparison counterparts by no less than 10.2%.

Research Area(s)

  • Approximation algorithm, Approximation algorithms, Costs, digital twin, Digital twins, Heuristic algorithms, mobile edge computing, online algorithm, Reliability, reliable service provisioning, resource allocation and optimization, Servers, service function chain, Telecommunication network reliability