Aleksandr Zavodovski, Nitinder Mohan, Walter Wong, and Jussi Kangasharju, University of Helsinki
High demand for low latency services and local data processing has given rise for edge computing. As opposed to cloud computing, in this new paradigm computational facilities are located close to the end-users and data producers, on the edge of the network, hence the name. The critical issue for the proliferation of edge computing is the availability of local computational resources. Major cloud providers are already addressing the problem by establishing facilities in the proximity of end-users. However, there is an alternative trend, namely, developing open infrastructure as a set of standards, technologies, and practices to enable any motivated parties to offer their computational capacity for the needs of edge computing. Open infrastructure can give an additional boost to this new promising paradigm and, moreover, help to avoid problems for which cloud computing has been long criticized for, such as vendor lock-in or privacy. In this paper, we discuss the challenges related to creating such an open infrastructure, in particular focusing on the applicability of distributed ledgers for contractual agreement and payment. Solving the challenge of contracting is central to realizing an open infrastructure for edge computing, and in this paper, we highlight the potential and shortcomings of distributed ledger technologies in the context of our use case.
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