Sometimes it can seem like it takes forever to download a file from the internet, even with a high speed internet connection. This is because the content you are trying to download may be located far away from you, even overseas, and thereby taking a longer time to reach your computer. With the use of data growing exponentially, the need to access it quicker is now of great importance.
For example, if you are located in Mumbai and want to download a movie that happens to be located in New York, it will take longer to download then if the movie was located in Delhi. This has led to more businesses storing data in several locations to make it quicker to access, but also increasing their costs.
Goutam Sen is undertaking research at the IITB-Monash Research Academy that is looking how to optimise the location of data in multiple locations whilst at the same time minimising the overall data communication cost. “I am always impatient when it takes time to download items. As an end-user, I always prefer quick downloads and it is equally important for the service providers to minimise their costs when they replicate and distribute content. This project offers me an insight into the power of optimisation techniques in maintaining data cost-effectively whilst also meeting the needs of the end-users” comments Sen.
This research is being undertaken under the guidance of Professor Narayan Rangaraj and Assistant Professor Vishnu Narayanan (from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India), Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy (from Monash University, Australia and CEO IITB-Monash Research Academy) and Professor David Abramson (from Monash University, Australia). IITB-Monash Research Academy is a Joint Venture between the IITB and Monash. Opened in 2008, the IITB-Monash Research Academy is a graduate research school located in Mumbai that aims at enhancing research collaborations between Australia and India. Students study for a dual PhD from both institutions, and spend time during their research in both India and Australia.
Sen’s research uses a database segmentation approach. Whilst this technique has been used before, it has not been used to create optimisation models where there are connections between each location. For example, if a video supplier has stored its data in New York, Delhi and Paris, as a user you can download a video located at each location. The model will optimise which videos should be located where, effectively creating data hubs. If it is optimal for Hindi films to be stored at the Delhi hub, you can still download a Hindi film in Paris but it will just take a bit longer as the Paris hub connects with the Delhi hub to acces the information.
The potential applications for this research are almost endless, with the need for data to be accessed in multiple locations increasing each day. In businesses with branch networks, such as banking, customer information could be stored using this model. Similarly, for global businesses with geographical hubs, the opportunity to increase productivity and minimise communication costs is an attractive one.
Research Scholar: Goutam Sen, IITB-Monash Research Academy
Project Title: Data Location in Complex Information Networks
Supervisors: Professor Narayan Rangaraj, Assistant Professor Vishnu Narayanan, Professor Mohan Krishnamoorthy, Professor David Abramson
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The above story was written by Ms Rakhee Ghelani based on inputs from the research student and IITB-Monash Research Academy. Copyright IITB-Monash Research Academy.