Demand-Driven Deep Reinforcement Learning for Scalable Fog and Service Placement

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46 Scopus citations


The increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices necessitates the need for a more substantial fog computing infrastructure to support the users' demand for services. In this context, the placement problem consists of selecting fog resources and mapping services to these resources. This problem is particularly challenging due to the dynamic changes in both users' demand and available fog resources. Existing solutions utilize on-demand fog formation and periodic container placement using heuristics due to the NP-hardness of the problem. Unfortunately, constant updates of services are time consuming in terms of environment setup, especially when required services and available fog nodes are changing. Therefore, due to the need for fast and proactive service updates to meet users' demand, and the complexity of the container placement problem, we propose in this article a Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) solution, named Intelligent Fog and Service Placement (IFSP), to perform instantaneous placement decisions proactively. By proactively, we mean making placement decisions before demands occur. The DRL-based IFSP is developed through a scalable Markov Decision Process (MDP) design. To address the long learning time for DRL to converge, and the high volume of errors needed to explore, we also propose a novel end-to-end architecture utilizing a service scheduler and a bootstrapper. on the cloud. Our scheduler and bootstrapper perform offline learning on users' demand recorded in server logs. Through experiments and simulations performed on the NASA server logs and Google Cluster Trace datasets, we explore the ability of IFSP to perform efficient placement and overcome the above mentioned DRL limitations. We also show the ability of IFSP to adapt to changes in the environment and improve the Quality of Service (QoS) compared to state-of-the-art-heuristic and DRL solutions.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)2671-2684
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Services Computing
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022


  • boostraper
  • deep reinforcement learning (DRL)
  • Fog computing
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • on-demand fog placement


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