Institute of Communications and Connected Systems


ICCS members present a new paradigm for future Cloud Data Centres

13 September 2018

Members of the UCL Optical Networks Group present a new paradigm for future Cloud Data Centres at IEEE conference

Data Center, overlaid on top of optical network infrastructure experiment in the lab

Author  Rob Thompson, Impact Fellow 

Research theme logos - Intelligent High Capacity Networks;  Sensing, Information and Data Processing
Optical networks | Cloud Computing | Data Centres

Dr Georgios Zervas, senior lecturer in Electronic and Electrical Engineering, along with members of ICCS, this week head to Cyprus to present work on future-proofed networks for Cloud Data Centres.

The researchers will deliver presentations to the international Photonics in Switching and Computing Conference on two research papers along with an invited talk to a workshop co-located with the conference.

George Zervas will give the invited talk to those researching and developing infrastructures for Cloud Data centres of the future, specifically looking at how the Data Centre landscape moves beyond the limitation being imposed by the slow down of Moore's Law.

Dr Zervas said:

We are challenging many of the long-standing architectures and principles for data-centre inrfastructure. The current methods deployed in data centres will not keep up with scalability and performance required of future Cloud Data Centres.

The talk will elaborate on the shortcoming of existing technologies in computing and networking, identifying the challenges yet to come. Further, it will highlight the solutions being developed at UCL which bring together network science and hardware technologies towards scalable optical networks that are deterministic and able to operate in nanoseconds.

In addition to the invited talk, the two research papers being presented within the main conference will showcase the groundbreaking work of the group. 

Paris Andreades, PhD student within the UCL Optical Networks Group and lead researcher for the first paper, will present a leap in the current state-of-the-art for data centre networking. The paper presents a new method of controlling the paths through which data will flow in the network, known as switching. This novel design can enable switching of these paths at a nanosecond time-scale and support a significant increase in the number of data inputs and outputs within a network without a decrease in performance speed.

Joshua Benjamin, Research Assistant and PhD Student in the Optical Networks Group, led the work presented in the second paper. He will report on a ten-fold increase in data throughput of the network made possible by a novel network architecture and control method. Investigations have shown this method could potentially be scaled over 16 times more servers, dramatically increasing the network's capability.

Further explaining the wider group's work Dr Zervas said: 

The work we are presenting at PSC is part of on-going research that has seen the development of a unique network that can support 10,000s to potentially 100,000s computing nodes but does not require switiching or routing within the network making a data-centre network that is reliable at lower latency, increasing the speed at which data can be processed. 

Explaining the magnitude of current innovations he added:

This is a fascinating period of work that has been made possible by ground-breaking developments in network science, hardware acceleration methods and optical networking.

The international IEEE Photonics in Switching and Computing (PSC) conference has been running since 2001 visiting cities across Europe, North America and Japan. It is a premier opportunity to highlight the latest research activities in the area of Photonics in Switching and Computing.

PSC2018 will take place on the 19th to 21st of September in Limassol Cyprus, organised by the University of Cyprus. For more information visit the conference website

The two conference papers presented by the group are detailed below, full details can be found in the conference programme. Papers will be linked to this article after the conference.

  • Paris Andreades, Georgios Zervas, “Parallel Distributed Schedulers for Scalable Photonic Integrated Packet Switching”, IEEE photonic in switching and computing, 2018
  • Joshua Benjamin, Georgios Zervas, “Parallel Star-coupler OCS Architectures using Distributed Hardware Schedulers”, IEEE photonic in switching and computing, 2018