Context-aware distribution of fog applications using deep reinforcement learning

Nan Wang, Blesson Varghese*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Fog computing is an emerging paradigm that aims to meet the increasing computation demands arising from the billions of devices connected to the Internet. Offloading services of an application from the Cloud to the edge of the network can improve the overall latency of the application since it can process data closer to user devices. Diverse Fog nodes ranging from Wi-Fi routers to mini-clouds with varying resource capabilities makes it challenging to determine which services of an application need to be offloaded. In this paper, a context-aware mechanism for distributing applications across the Cloud and the Fog is proposed. The mechanism dynamically generates (re)deployment plans for the application to maximise the performance efficiency of the application by taking operational conditions, such as hardware utilisation and network state, and running costs into account. The mechanism relies on deep Q-networks to generate a distribution plan without prior knowledge of the available resources on the Fog node, the network condition, and the application. The feasibility of the proposed context-aware distribution mechanism is demonstrated on two use-cases, namely a face detection application and a location-based mobile game. The benefits are increased utility of dynamic distribution by 50% and 20% for the two use-cases respectively when compared to a static distribution approach used in existing research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103354
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Network and Computer Applications
Early online date14 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Context-aware distribution
  • Fog computing
  • Decentralised cloud
  • Edge computing


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