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Towards a Unified Information and Queueing Theory

Project Goals

Dating back sixty years to the seminal works by Shannon, information theory is a cornerstone of communications. Amongst others, it's significance stems from the decoupling of data compression and transmission as accomplished by the celebrated source and channel coding theorems. The success has, however, not been brought forward to communications networks. Yet, particular advances, such as in cross-layer optimization and network coding, show the tremendous potential that may be accessible by a network information theory.

A major challenge for establishing a network information theory is due to the properties of network data traffic that is highly variable (sporadic) and delay-sensitive. In contrast, information theory mostly neglects the dynamics of information and capacity and focuses on averages, respectively, asymptotic limits. Typically, these limits can be achieved with infinitesimally small probability of error assuming, however, arbitrarily long codewords (coding delays). Queueing theory, on the other hand, is employed to analyze network delays using (stochastic) models of a network's traffic arrivals and service. To date a tight link between these models and the information theoretic concepts of entropy and channel capacity is missing.

The goal of this project is to contribute elements of a network information theory that bridge the gap towards communications (queueing) networks. To this end, we use concepts from information theory to explore the dynamics of sources and channels. Our approach envisions envelope functions of information and capacity that have the capability to model the impact of the timescale, and that converge in the limit to the entropy and the channel capacity, respectively. The model will enable queueing theoretical investigations, permitting us to make significant contributions to the field of network information theory, and to provide substantial, new insights and applications from a holistic analysis of communications networks.


KTH ACCESS Distinguished Lecture, Markus Fidler, Stochastic Network Calculus: A System Theory for the Internet, KTH Stockholm, June 2015.

Dagstuhl Seminar on the Network Calculus, Sami Akin, Effective Capacity --- Through Physical and Data-Link Layers, Mar. 9-11, 2015.


Marwan Hammouda, Sami Akin, and Jürgen Peissig (2015): "Effective capacity in multiple access channels with arbitrary inputs,"  IEEE Int. Conf. on Wireless and Mobile Computing, Networking and Commun. (WiMob), Abu Dhabi, UAE, Oct. 19-21, 2015.

Sami Akin and Markus Fidler, "Backlog and delay reasoning in HARQ systems," 27th Int. Teletraffic Congress (ITC 27), Ghent, Belgium, Sep. 8-10, 2015.

Markus Fidler, Nico Becker, and Ralf Lübben (2014): "Capacity-Delay-Error Boundaries: A Composable Model of Sources and Systems", IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications, 2015.

Marwan Hammouda, Sami Akin, and Jürgen Peissig (2014): "Effective Capacity in Cognitive Radio Broadcast Channels",  IEEE Global Commun. Conf. Exhibition and Ind. Forum (GLOBECOM), Austin, TX, USA, Dec. 8-12, 2014.

Sami Akin (2014): "Security in Cognitive Radio Networks", 48th Annual Conference on Information Sciences and Systems (CISS), 19-21, Mar. 2014.

Markus Fidler and Amr Rizk (2013): "A Guide to the Stochastic Network Calculus", MMBnet, September 2013, IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, 2015.

Ralf Lübben and Markus Fidler (2012): "Non-equilibrium Information Envelopes and the Capacity-Delay-Error-Tradeoff of Source Coding", IEEE WoWMoM, Juni 2012. Technical report "Non-equilibrium Information Envelopes and the Capacity-Delay-Error-Tradeoff of Source Coding", arXiv1107.3087, July 2011.

Ralf Lübben and Markus Fidler (2012): "On the Delay Performance of Block Codes for Discrete Memoryless Channels with Feedback", IEEE Sarnoff Symposium, Mai 2012.

Ralf Lübben and Markus Fidler (2011): "On the Capacity-Delay-Error-Tradeoff of Source Coding", Poster IFIP Performance, Oct. 2011, ACM SIGMETRICS Performance Evaluation Review, 39(2):72, Sep. 2011.