Amin M. Khan

Co-advisor: Felix Freitag, UPC, Barcelona.

Managing Incentives in Community Network Clouds

Thesis submitted for the PhD in Computer Science and Engineering, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.


Internet and communication technologies have lowered the costs for communities to collaborate, leading to new services like user-generated content and social computing, and through collaboration, collectively built infrastructures like community networks have also emerged. While community networks focus solely on sharing of network bandwidth, community network clouds extend this sharing to provide for applications of local interest deployed within community networks through collaborative efforts to provision cloud infrastructures. Community network clouds complement the traditional large-scale public cloud providers similar to the model of decentralised edge clouds by bringing both content and computation closer to the users at the edges of the network. Community network clouds are based on the principle of reciprocal sharing and most of their users are moved by altruistic principles. However, as any other human organisation, these networks are not immune to overuse, free-riding, or under-provisioning, specially in scenarios where users may have motivations to compete for scarce resources. We focus in this thesis on the incentives based resource regulations mechanisms to derive practical ways of implementing arbitration when such contention for limited resources occurs. We first design these regulation mechanisms for the local level where stronger social relationships between the community members imply trust, and ensure adherence to the system policies. We next extend the mechanisms for larger communities of untrusted users, where rational users may be motivated to deviate for their personal gains, and develop a distributed framework for guaranteeing trust in the resource regulation. Such mechanisms assist in encouraging contribution by the community members, and will help towards adoption, sustainability, and growth of the community cloud model.

Selected Publications

Note: Amin M. Khan was a student of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Distributed Computing, working both at UPC, in Barcelona and at IST in Lisboa. Here we just list the work that resulted from his stay at IST.
Managing Incentives in Community Network Clouds
Amin M. Khan
PhD Thesis. Departamento de Engenharia Informática, Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), Universidade de Lisboa and Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.
June, 2016.
Available pdf.
A Distributed Auctioneer for Resource Allocation in Decentralized Systems.
A. Khan, X. Vilaça, L. Rodrigues, F. Freitag.
In Proceedings of the 36th IEEE International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, (ICDCS), Nara, Japan, June 2016.

Luís Rodrigues