9th IEEE International Conference on Network Softwarization
19–23 June 2023 // Madrid, Spain
Boosting Future Networks through Advanced Softwarization


Tutorial #1 - Recent advances in Container Orchestration: Network-Aware Scheduling in Container Clouds

Speakers: José Santos (Ghent University - imec, IDLab, Gent, Belgium), Chen Wang (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, New York, USA)


Containers have revolutionized application deployment and life-cycle management in current cloud  platforms. Applications have evolved from single monoliths to complex graphs of loosely-coupled microservices aiming to improve deployment flexibility and operational efficiency. However, the efficient orchestration of containerized applications is challenging due to their complex inter-dependencies. Further, recent applications are becoming even more delay-sensitive, demanding lower latency between dependent microservices. Scheduling policies in popular container orchestration platforms mainly aim to increase the resource efficiency of the infrastructure, insufficient for these latency-sensitive applications. Application domains such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and multi-tier web services would benefit from network-aware policies that consider network latency and bandwidth in the scheduling process. This tutorial provides an overview of application scenarios and methodologies to address the efficient orchestration of containerized applications. After that, the tutorial provides a practical vision of network-aware scheduling via the developed Diktyo framework for the popular Kubernetes (K8s) platform. Diktyo determines the placement of dependent microservices in long-running applications focused on reducing the application’s end-to-end latency and guaranteeing bandwidth reservations. The tutorial includes a live-demo showing the benefits of the Diktyo framework by deploying typical containerized applications. The framework has been open-sourced and already accepted in the K8s scheduling community repository as an alternative scheduler.  We want to showcase to attendees how they could apply Diktyo to deploy their applications with network awareness in a K8s cluster. Lastly, a selected set of lessons learned within this dedicated area of container management is presented, and future trends in container scheduling are outlined. The materials for this tutorial are available  at: https://github.com/diktyo-io/tutorial-ieee-netsoft2023

Speakers biography

José Santos (Ghent University - imec, IDLab, Gent, Belgium). José Santos obtained his M.Sc. degree in Electrical and Computers Engineering in July 2015 from the University of Porto, Portugal. Recently, he completed his doctoral studies at Ghent University in April 2022. He is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Internet Technology and Data Science Lab (IDLab) Research Group at Ghent University - imec, Belgium. His research interests include Cloud Computing, the Internet of Things (IoT), SoftwareDefined Networking (SDN), Container Scheduling and Auto-scaling, Service Function Chaining, and Reinforcement Learning. His work has been published in more than 20 scientific publications. He received the PhD excellence award 2022 from imec, Belgium. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jpedro1992/




Chen Wang (IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, New York, USA). Chen Wang obtained her M.S.c and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2014 and 2017, respectively. Since 2017, she has worked as a Research Staff Member at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center. Her research interests include Cloud video streaming systems, Cloud resource management, Container Cloud platforms, Serverless Computing, Machine Learning/Data Analytics systems, and data-driven cloud system management, with a special focus on machine learning approaches. She authored and coauthored 20+ papers, and served as co-chair for ACM International Workshop on Containers, ACM Middleware Industrial Track, IEEE CloudCom, etc. She is also an open source advocate, actively contributing to projects in Linux Foundation, Cloud Native Foundation, and Kubernetes Ecosystems.  https://wangchen615.github.io



Tutorial #2 - Enabling Technologies for the Softwarization of Operations and Control Networks

Speakers: Kiran Makhijani (Futurewei), Cedric Westphal (Futurewei), Lijun Dong (Futurewei) and Tooba Faisal (Nokia France)


Two converging trends motivate this tutorial: the massive growth of machine-to-machine communications (including IoT networks) and the softwarization of the network protocols and management tools. Indeed, there is a strong need for agile open interoperable protocols to deploy in the currently walled garden of industrial networks as they expand to a global reach. Cloud-native network protocols are necessary that challenges the current network architectures in currently proprietary and isolated control systems. Virtualization and softwarization will impact these Industrial Networks as they have the DC and cellular networks. We foresee that programmability and the chaining of software modules will allow for new methods and services in IoT and Industrial Networks. This tutorial provides a deep dive into the design and realization of a converged Industrial IoT network framework. This framework - called Operations and Control Networks (OCN) -  supports all the primitives necessary for  automation and softwarization in the industry processes. We formalize OCN as a generalized model based on a set of fundamental principles derived from the Operational Technologies (OT) framework. The goal of OCN is to open up the walled gardens of current industrial network to the open protocols and technology of the Internet.  The tutorial will describe the need and emerging use cases for the OCN, and their impact on the softwarization of control processes. It then goes into the theoretical foundations of this model in a technology-agnostic manner. Finally, we will present a realization of OCN with a practical hands-on example and will also demonstrate the application on factory floor.

Speakers biography

Kiran Makhijani is Principal Research Scientist at Network Technologies Lab, Futurewei USA. She is responsible for innovations in next-generation network technologies and architecture. Her recent work involves network stack evolution for Industrial IoT enabling OT/IT convergence. Other aspects of this work involve decentralization of industrial operations from factory floors to the edge networks. This requires High-precision communication framework between the devices and applications and has led to the development of this Linux based HPC platform as a proof of concept. Kiran has contributed to several standards bodies (ETSI, ITU, IETF). Her experience areas cover all things networking such as cloud scale routing, identity-oriented networking, 5G backhaul optimizations and Network Slices. Currently, Kiran is serving as a co-chair of newly formed IETF working group on Stub Network Auto Configuration (SNAC).


Cedric Westphal is a Principal Research Architect with Futurewei working on future network architecture, both for wired and wireless networks. His current focus is on next generation Internet. He was an adjunct assistant, then associate professor with the University of California, Santa Cruz from 2009 to 2019. Prior to Futurewei, he was with DOCOMO Innovations from 2007 to 2011 in the Networking Architecture Group focusing on next generation network architectures. He was at Nokia Research Center (now Nokia Bell Labs) from 2000 to 2006. He has received a MSEE in 1995 from Ecole Centrale Paris, and a MS (1995) and PhD (2000) in EE from the University of California, Los Angeles. From 1997 to 2000, he was a visiting researcher at Stanford University. Cedric Westphal has authored and coauthored over a hundred journal and conference papers, including several best paper awards at conferences such as IEEE ICC’11, IEEE ICNC’18, IEEE MuSIC’16 and others. Dr. Westphal has given tutorials at many conferences, including “High Speed Cellular Networks, architecture and protocols” (IEEE/IFIP Networking 2005); “Wireless Mesh Networks, architecture and protocols” (European Wireless 2007); “Information-Centric Networking, Current state of the Art and Future Directions” (IEEE Globecom 2013); “Information-Centric Networks: Status and Open Research Problems,” (IEEE SACONET 2013);  “Management of Future Networks: Issues and Opportunities in Information-Centric Networks” (IEEE IM 2015), as well as keynotes and invited talks.



Dr. Lijun Dong is a Principal Architect at Futurewei Technologies, USA. She has broad and in-depth research in the areas of Internet of Things, Machine-to-Machine communications, Information-Centric Networking and Future Internet Architecture for more than a decade.  She is one of the voting members of ComSoc Industry Communities Board (2022-2023). She was one of the board members of the WOCC conference 20172018. She won Futurewei President Awards in 2020, InterDigital Innovation’s Awards in 2013, travel grant of Globecom 2009. She received best paper awards in WOCC 2018, AFIN 2018, Internet 2021. She has been an active and influential contributor, and responsible for internal strategy development and execution for standards, including oneM2M, IETF, 3GPP and ITU. She is the major inventor to 100+ granted patents. She has 60+ publications and several book chapters.




Tooba Faisal received her PhD from King's College London under the supervision of Mischa Dohler. She has MRes in Security Science from University College London, where she worked on malicious transactions on Bitcoin Blockchain. She was assigned King's delegate in ETSI ISG of Permissioned Distributed Ledgers and is the Rappatour of Report and Specifications on Smart Contracts. Currently, she is working as Research Web3 Engineer at Nokia Bell Labs France. Her research interests are accountability and transparency in future networks.




Tutorial #3 - Enabling Trust and Decentralization in Future Softwarized Networks through Blockchain

Speakers: Francesc Wilhelmi (Nokia Bell Labs), Nima Afraz (School of Computer Science, University College Dublin (UCD), Paolo Dini (Centre Tecnològic de Telecomunicacions de Catalunya (CTTC)


Blockchain has recently attracted a lot of attention from the telecom sector, both in academia and industry, because it can be a game-changer, given inherent remarkable properties such as decentralization, security, auditability, and reliability, and because of its maturity and worldwide adoption in fields like finance, health, or governance. Combined with novel paradigms in telecommunications like network softwarization, blockchain technology outlines a collaborative future in cellular systems, driven by openness, scalability, and flexibility. Such an advent is expected to attract new players like content providers and verticals, increasing competitiveness and democratization in the telecom market. In particular, the integration of blockchain in telecommunications will provide automation, robustness, trustworthiness, and reliability to mobile networks, so that confidence is generated to sustain truly autonomous networks, able to conduct self-X operations. In this tutorial, we will overview blockchain technology and foresee potential adoption, applications, existing tools, and architectural solutions to lead a true revolution in future networks. Furthermore, we will provide two meaningful demos that are expected to help to lay the groundwork for implementations of blockchain-enabled network softwarization applications.

Speakers biography

Francesc Wilhelmi holds a Ph.D. in information and communication technologies (2020) from Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). He is currently a researcher engineer at Nokia Bell. In the past, he actively participated in standardization activities through the Focus Group on Machine Learning for Future Networks including 5G (FG-ML5G) and the Focus Group on Autonomous Networks (FG-AN), where he has acted as an editor, contributor, mentor on students’ projects, and host of problem statements for the ITU-T AI Challenge. Francesc has more than 6 years of experience in academia and education, 20+ co-authored publications with 300+ citations, 30+ reviews in top-ranked journals and conferences, 10+ presentations in IEEE conferences and keynotes, and 10+ contributions to ITU-T.



Nima Afraz is an Assistant Professor in the School of Computer Science, at University College Dublin. He is affiliated with the CONNECT Research Centre and his research focuses on blockchain applications in telecoms, the economics of networks and network virtualisation. Nima is a recipient of the government of Ireland postdoctoral fellowship and worked as a postdoctoral fellow to address the challenges in the adoption of blockchain technology in telecommunications. Nima is the vice-chair of the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger telecom special interest group. He received his PhD in computer science from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, in 2020.






Paolo Dini received M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Università di Roma La Sapienza, in 2001 and 2005, respectively. He is currently a Senior Researcher with the CTTC. His current research interests include sustainable networking and computing, distributed optimization and optimal control, machine learning, multi-agent systems and data analytics. His research activity is documented in almost 90 peer-reviewed scientific journals and international conference papers. He received two awards from the Cisco Silicon Valley Foundation for his research on heterogeneous mobile networks, in 2008 and 2011, respectively. He has been involved in more than 20 research and development projects. He is currently the Coordinator of CHIST-ERA SONATA project on sustainable computing and communication at the edge and the Scientific Coordinator of the EU H2020 MSCA Greenedge European Training Network on edge intelligence and sustainable computing. He serves as a TPC in many international conferences and workshops and as a reviewer for several scientific journals of the IEEE, Elsevier, ACM, Springer, Wiley.


Tutorial #4 - Open AI Cellular (OAIC): An AI-Enabled Open-Source Platform & Testbed for 6G Network Softwarization and Research (Canceled by the speakers )

Speakers: Vuk Marojevic (Mississipi State University), Minglong Zhang (Mississipi State University), Bo Tang (Mississipi State University), Vijay K. Shah (George Mason University)


Since first conceptualized and proposed, the Open Radio Access Network (O-RAN) has aimed for openness, intelligence and flexibility. To fulfill the objectives, various network components and interfaces will have been virtualized and disaggregated. Meanwhile, O-RAN based 6G networks will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) into the deployment, operation, and maintenance of the network. AI can optimize parameters in a large search space, figure out corresponding solutions for new situations, as well as interpolate while facing insufficient information. This tutorial will introduce the open-source software platform Open AI Cellular (OAIC), a community research infrastructure project enabling 6G wireless research and experiments. OAIC enables prototyping and testing of next generation AI-based cellular radio access networks (RANs). We will introduce how to design and integrate AI-based RAN controllers, such as user/resource scheduling and network slicing. The tutorial will also highlight methodologies for developing open-source tools and services for AI-enabled O-RAN management and experimentation with software-defined radios (SDRs) along with an AI-enhanced RAN testing framework for 6G research. Attendees will obtain substantial knowledge and experience with O-RAN fundamentals and the emerging OAIC research platform and how to use it for wireless research and development.

Speakers biography

Vuk Marojevic received the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Hannover, Germany, and the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from UPC-Barcelona Tech. He was assistant professor at UPC, research faculty at Wireless @ Virginia Tech and is currently an Associate Professor with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. His research interests are in software-defined radio, spectrum sharing, vehicular communications, resource management with application to commercial and mission-critical cellular networks and unmanned aircraft systems. He is a PI of the NSF-sponsored AERPAW and Open AI Cellular (OAIC) projects. He serves as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Trans. on Vehicular Technology and the IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine. He has given tutorials about software radio frameworks, open-source LTE and cellular communications security at major conferences and workshops, such as IEEE MILCOM (2018), NEWSDR (2019) and SDR-WInnComm (2013). He has presented a tutorial about OAIC at IEEE CCNC 2023.


Minglong Zhang received his M.S degree in electronic engineering from the Peking University, P.R. China and PhD degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. He was a lecturer and research associate at Auckland University of Technology. He is a postdoctoral research associate at Mississippi State University. His research interests include 5G/6G V2X communications, software-defined radios, AI-enabled ORAN. He will give a tutorial about OAIC at IEEE CCNC 2023. Dr. Zhang has attended and organized multiple relevant conferences, such as IEEE ICC, 2020 WCNC, 2018 EIA SARTGIFT and 2017 PIMRC. He made presentations in the conferences and the topics were wireless networks, V2X communications and networking. He has been a tutorial presenter at IEEE CCNC 2023 and present OAIC.


Bo Tang received the M.S. degree in information processing from Chinese Academy of Sciences and Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from University of Rhode Island. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Mississippi State University. His research interests are machine learning, edge AI, and AI security, as well as their applications in wireless networks. He is the recipient of NSF CAREER Award (2021) and NIJ New Investigator/Early Career Award (2019). He is a Senior Member of IEEE and servers as an Associate Editor of the IEEE Trans. on Neural Networks and Learning Systems. He has given a tutorial about OAIC at IEEE CCNC 2023.




Vijay K. Shah is an Assistant Professor in the Cybersecurity Engineering (CYSE) Department at George Mason University (GMU). He is also a faculty member of Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI), a Virginia state-wide initiative to foster 5G wireless, autonomous systems, data and cybersecurity research. His research interests include 5G/Next-G wireless, O-RAN architecture, AI/ML for communications and wireless testbed development and prototyping. He serves as a co-chair for IEEE workshop on next-generation radio access networks (co-located with IEEE GLOBECOM 2022). He has organized many IEEE and ACM workshops collocated with leading wireless communication and networking conferences, such as, IEEE GLOBECOM, ACM MobiCom, and ACM ICDCN.