Ben Liang

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (146)111.71 Total impact

  • Wei Wang, Di Niu, Ben Liang, Baochun Li
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    ABSTRACT: Infrastructure-as-a-Service clouds offer diverse pricing options, including on-demand and reserved instances with various discounts to attract different cloud users. A practical problem facing cloud users is how to minimize their costs by choosing among different pricing options based on their own demands. In this paper, we propose a new cloud brokerage service that reserves a large pool of instances from cloud providers and serves users with price discounts. The broker optimally exploits both pricing benefits of long-term instance reservations and multiplexing gains. We propose dynamic strategies for the broker to make instance reservations with the objective of minimizing its service cost. These strategies leverage dynamic programming and approximation algorithms to rapidly handle large volumes of demand. Our extensive simulations driven by large-scale Google cluster-usage traces have shown that significant price discounts can be realized via the broker.
    IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems 06/2015; 26(6):1580-1593. DOI:10.1109/TPDS.2014.2326409 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Phase balancing is essential to safe power system operation. We consider a substation connected to multiple phases, each with single-phase loads, generation, and energy storage. A representative of the substation operates the system and aims to minimize the cost of all phases and to balance loads among phases. We first consider ideal energy storage with lossless charging and discharging, and propose both centralized and distributed real-time algorithms taking into account system uncertainty. The proposed algorithm does not require any system statistics and asymptotically achieves the minimum system cost with large energy storage. We then extend the algorithm to accommodate more realistic non-ideal energy storage that has imperfect charging and discharging. The performance of the proposed algorithm is evaluated through extensive simulation and compared with that of a benchmark greedy algorithm. Simulation shows that our algorithm leads to strong performance over a wide range of storage characteristics.
  • Wei Bao, Ben Liang
    IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 01/2015; DOI:10.1109/JSAC.2015.2435451 · 4.14 Impact Factor
  • Wei Wang, Ben Liang, Baochun Li
    IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems 01/2015; DOI:10.1109/TPDS.2014.2385697 · 2.17 Impact Factor
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    Yicheng Lin, Wei Bao, Wei Yu, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: The joint user association and spectrum allocation problem is studied for multi-tier heterogeneous networks (HetNets) in both downlink and uplink in the interference-limited regime. Users are associated with base-stations (BSs) based on the biased downlink received power. Spectrum is either shared or orthogonally partitioned among the tiers. This paper models the placement of BSs in different tiers as spatial point processes and adopts stochastic geometry to derive the theoretical mean proportionally fair utility of the network based on the coverage rate. By formulating and solving the network utility maximization problem, the optimal user association bias factors and spectrum partition ratios are analytically obtained for the multi-tier network. The resulting analysis reveals that the downlink and uplink user associations do not have to be symmetric. For uplink under spectrum sharing, if all tiers have the same target signal-to-interference ratio (SIR), distance-based user association is shown to be optimal under a variety of path loss and power control settings. For both downlink and uplink, under orthogonal spectrum partition, it is shown that the optimal proportion of spectrum allocated to each tier should match the proportion of users associated with that tier. Simulations validate the analytical results. Under typical system parameters, simulation results suggest that spectrum partition performs better for downlink in terms of utility, while spectrum sharing performs better for uplink with power control.
    IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications 12/2014; 33(6). DOI:10.1109/JSAC.2015.2417011 · 4.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In heterogeneous cellular networks (HCNs), the interference received at a user is correlated over time slots since it comes from the same set of randomly located BSs. This results in the correlations of link successes, thus affecting network performance. Under the assumptions of a K -tier Poisson network, strongest-candidate based BS association, and independent Rayleigh fading, we first quantify the correlation coefficients of interference. We observe that the interference correlation is independent of the number of tiers, BS density, SIR threshold, and transmit power. Then, we study the correlations of link successes in terms of the joint success probability over multiple time slots. We show that the joint success probability is decided by the success probability in a single time slot and a diversity polynomial, which represents the temporal interference correlation. Moreover, the parameters of HCNs have an important influence on the joint success probability by affecting the success probability in a single time slot. Particularly, we obtain the condition under which the joint success probability increases with the BS density and transmit power. We further show that the conditional success probability given prior successes only depends on the path loss exponent and the number of time slots.
  • Sun Sun, Min Dong, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: Based on the Gauss–Markov channel model, we investigate the stochastic feedback control for transmit beamforming in multiple-input–single-output systems and design practical implementation algorithms leveraging techniques in dynamic programming and reinforcement learning. We first validate the Markov decision process formulation of the underlying feedback control problem with a $4R$-variable ( $4R$-V) state, where $R$ is the number of the transmit antennas. Due to the high complexity of finding an optimal feedback policy under the $4R$-V state, we consider a reduced 2-V state. As opposed to a previous study that assumes the feedback problem under such a 2-V state remaining an MDP formulation, our analysis indicates that the underlying problem is no longer an MDP. Nonetheless, the approximation as an MDP is shown to be justifiable and efficient. Based on the quantized 2-V state and the MDP approximation, we propose practical implementation algorithms for feedback control with unknown state transition probabilities. In particular, we provide model-based offline and online learning algorithms, as well as a model-free learning algorithm. We investigate and compare these algorithms through extensive simulations and provide their efficiency analysis. According to these results, the application rule of these algorithms is established under both statistically stable and unstable channels.
    IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 09/2014; 13(9):4731-4745. DOI:10.1109/TWC.2014.2336661 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Wei Bao, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new method for spectrum allocation in a heterogeneous cellular network with multiple tiers of randomly placed base stations and random user session arrivals. Different from previous works, inelastic network traffic is considered, so as to accommodate application sessions with fixed data rate requirements. We first quantify the average downlink sum throughput of the network in terms of a given spectrum allocation vector. We then derive concave upper and lower bounds to the throughput to allow efficient approximate solutions to optimize spectrum allocation. We show that the proposed approach has a worst case optimization performance gap of 12.6% and further demonstrate via simulation that its actual performance is often near optimal.
    ICASSP 2014 - 2014 IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP); 05/2014
  • Wei Wang, Ben Liang, Baochun Li
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    ABSTRACT: Middleboxes are ubiquitous in today's networks. They perform deep packet processing such as content-based filtering and transformation, which requires multiple categories of resources (e.g., CPU, memory bandwidth, and link bandwidth). Depending on the processing requirement of traffic, packet processing for different flows may consume vastly different amounts of resources. Multi-resource fair queueing allows flows to obtain a fair share of these resources, providing service isolation across flows. However, previous solutions for multi-resource fair queueing are either expensive to implement at high speeds, or incurring high scheduling delay for flows with uneven weights. In this paper, we present a new fair queueing algorithm, called Group Multi-Resource Round Robin (GMR3), that schedules packets in O(1) time, while achieving near-perfect fairness with a low scheduling delay bounded by a small constant. To our knowledge, it is the first provably fair, highly efficient multi-resource fair queueing algorithm with bounded delay.
    IEEE INFOCOM 2014 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications; 04/2014
  • Sun Sun, Min Dong, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: Power balancing is crucial for the reliability of an electric power grid. In this paper, we consider an aggregator coordinating a group of distributed storage (DS) units to provide power balancing service to a power grid through charging or discharging. We present a real-time, distributed algorithm that enables the DS units to determine their own charging or discharging amounts. The algorithm accommodates a wide spectrum of vital system characteristics, including time-varying power imbalance amount and electricity price, finite battery size constraints, cost of using external energy sources, and battery degradation. We develop a modified Lyapunov optimization framework for real-time power balancing and provide a fast iterative method for distributed implementation. The two components interact through a novel cost cushion parameter that tunes the trade-off between system performance and convergence speed. We show analytically that the algorithm converges quickly and provides asymptotically optimal performance as the capacity of DS units increases. We further study through simulation the algorithm performance over a wide range of parameter values and demonstrate that it is highly competitive over a greedy alternative.
    IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Signal Processing 01/2014; 8(6):1167-1181. DOI:10.1109/JSTSP.2014.2333499 · 3.63 Impact Factor
  • Wei Wang, Ben Liang, Baochun Li
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    ABSTRACT: Market-driven spectrum auctions offer an efficient way to improve spectrum utilization by transferring unused or underused spectrum from its primary license holder to spectrum-deficient secondary users. Such a spectrum market exhibits strong locality in two aspects: 1) that spectrum is a local resource and can only be traded to users within the license area, and 2) that holders can partition the entire license areas and sell any pieces in the market. We design a spectrum double auction that incorporates such locality in spectrum markets, while keeping the auction economically robust and computationally efficient. Our designs are tailored to cases with and without the knowledge of bid distributions. Complementary simulation studies show that spectrum utilization can be significantly improved when distribution information is available. Therefore, an auctioneer can start from one design without any a priori information, and then switch to the other alternative after accumulating sufficient distribution knowledge. With minor modifications, our designs are also effective for a profit-driven auctioneer aiming to maximize the auction revenue.
    IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing 01/2014; 13(1):75-88. DOI:10.1109/TMC.2012.212 · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A cross-network cross-layer design method is proposed to exploit the trunking, diversity, and best service assignment gains available in a heterogeneous wireless network (HWN), consisting of orthogonal radio access networks (RANs) and interference-limited RANs. Accounting for traffic-level dynamics and channel fading, we jointly design the distribution strategy for elastic and inelastic traffic, and the radio resource management strategy for RANs, in a network-separable control architecture. Optimal and quantified near-optimal radio allocation schemes are proposed for each type of RAN, which are combined into an on-line design framework that over time provides asymptotically optimal performance, maximizing the sum throughput utility for elastic traffic while guaranteeing the throughput requirements of inelastic traffic. Extensive simulation results demonstrate substantial performance improvement against suboptimal alternatives.
    IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 01/2014; 14(2):1-1. DOI:10.1109/TWC.2014.2356502 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    Wei Bao, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: Multi-tier architecture improves the spatial reuse of radio spectrum in cellular networks, and user classification allows consideration for diverse user service requirements. However, they introduce complicated heterogeneity in the spatial distribution of transmitters, which brings new challenges in interference analysis. In this work, we present a stochastic geometric model to evaluate the uplink interference in a two-tier network considering multi-type users and base stations. Each type of tier-1 users and tier-2 base stations are modeled as independent homogeneous Poisson point processes, and tier-2 users are modeled as locally non-homogeneous clustered Poisson point processes centered at tier-2 base stations. By applying a superposition-aggregation-superposition approach, we quantify the interference at both tiers. Our model is also able to capture the impact of two types of exclusion regions, where either tier-2 base stations or tier-2 users are restricted in order to avoid cross-tier interference. As an important application of this analytical model, an intensity planning scenario is investigated, in which we aim to maximize the total income of the network operator with respect to the intensities of tier-2 cells, under constraints on the outage probabilities of tier-1 users. The result of our interference analysis suggests that this maximization can be converted to a standard convex optimization problem. Finally, numerical studies further demonstrate the correctness of our analysis.
    IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 12/2013; 14(3). DOI:10.1109/ICCChina.2013.6671177 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Min Dong, Ben Liang, Qiang Xiao
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    ABSTRACT: We consider amplify-and-forward multi-antenna relaying between a single pair of source and destination under relay per-antenna power constraints. We design the optimal relay processing matrix to minimize the maximum per-antenna power budget for a received SNR target. With given transmit and receive beamformers at the source and destination, respectively, we first focus on the equivalent system with single-antenna source and destination. Although non-convex, we show that the optimization satisfies strong Lagrange duality and can be solved in the Lagrangian dual domain. We reveal a prominent structure of this problem, by establishing its duality with direct SIMO beamforming system with an uncertain noise. This enables us to derive a semi-closed form expression for the optimal relay processing matrix that depends on a set of dual variables, which can be determined through numerical optimization with a significantly reduced problem space. We further show that the dual problem has a semi-definite programming form, which enables efficient numerical optimization methods to determine the dual variables with polynomial complexity. Using this result, the reverse problem of SNR maximization under a set of relay per-antenna power constraints is then addressed. We then consider the maximum relay beamforming achievable rate under different combinations of antenna setups at source and destination. In particular, we generalize the duality to MIMO relay beamforming vs. direct MIMO beamforming, and establish the dual relation of the two systems for different multi-antenna setups at source and destination.
    IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing 12/2013; 61(23):6076-6090. DOI:10.1109/TSP.2013.2281778 · 3.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A dynamic optimization algorithm is proposed for the joint allocation of subframes, resource blocks, and power in the Type 1 inband relaying scheme mandatory in the LTE-Advanced standard. Following the general framework of Lyapunov optimization, we decompose the original problem into three sub-problems in the forms of convex programming, linear programming, and mixed-integer programming. We solve the last sub-problem in the Lagrange dual domain, showing that it has zero duality gap, and that a primal optimum can be obtained with probability one. The proposed algorithm dynamically adapts to traffic and channel fluctuations, it accommodates both instantaneous and average power constraints, and it obtains arbitrarily near-optimal sum utility of each user's average throughput. Simulation results demonstrate that the joint optimum can significantly outperform suboptimal alternatives.
    IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 11/2013; 12(11):5668-5678. DOI:10.1109/TWC.2013.092513.121922 · 2.76 Impact Factor
  • Wei Wang, Baochun Li, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: Middleboxes are widely deployed in today's enterprise networks. They perform a wide range of important network functions, including WAN optimizations, intrusion detection systems, network and application level firewalls, etc. Depending on the processing requirement of traffic, packet processing for different traffic flows may consume vastly different amounts of hardware resources (e.g., CPU and link bandwidth). Multi-resource fair queueing allows each traffic flow to receive a fair share of multiple middlebox resources. Previous schemes for multi-resource fair queueing, however, are expensive to implement at high speeds. Specifically, the time complexity to schedule a packet is O(log n), where n is the number of backlogged flows. In this paper, we design a new multi-resource fair queueing scheme that schedules packets in a way similar to Elastic Round Robin. Our scheme requires only O(1) work to schedule a packet and is simple enough to implement in practice. We show, both analytically and experimentally, that our queueing scheme achieves nearly perfect Dominant Resource Fairness.
    2013 21st IEEE International Conference on Network Protocols (ICNP); 10/2013
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    Wei Bao, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: We study joint spectrum allocation and user association in heterogeneous cellular networks with multiple tiers of base stations. A stochastic geometric approach is applied as the basis to derive the average downlink user data rate in a closed-form expression. Then, the expression is employed as the objective function in jointly optimizing spectrum allocation and user association, which is of non-convex programming in nature. A computationally efficient Structured Spectrum Allocation and User Association (SSAUA) approach is proposed, solving the optimization problem optimally when the density of users is low, and near-optimally with a guaranteed performance bound when the density of users is high. A Surcharge Pricing Scheme (SPS) is also presented, such that the designed association bias values can be achieved in Nash equilibrium. Simulations and numerical studies are conducted to validate the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed SSAUA approach and SPS.
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    ABSTRACT: This paper addresses the relation between message delivery delay and reliability for the communication between a vehicle and a road side unit (RSU). We focus on sparse vehicular sensor networks (VSNs), where timely message delivery and reliable transmission are of significant importance. We present a mathematical framework for the message delivery delay distribution for a two-lane road, where vehicles in one direction act as message carriers for the ones in the other direction and have the freedom to leave the road from randomly distributed road junctions with a certain probability. Packet generator vehicles store the original packets till meeting an RSU while sending multiple copies of each packet to packet carrier vehicles. Our analysis offers an analytical tool for an intelligent transportation system (ITS) service provider to determine the minimum RSU density required to cover a road for meeting a probabilistic requirement of the message delay. Extensive computer simulation results show the accuracy of our analysis and clearly indicate the relation of packet delay and the number of packet replicas.
    IEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications 09/2013; 12(9):4402-4413. DOI:10.1109/TW.2013.072313.121397 · 2.76 Impact Factor
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    Wei Bao, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: We introduce a comprehensive analytical framework to compare between open access and closed access in two-tier femtocell networks, with regard to uplink interference and outage. Interference at both the macrocell and femtocell levels is considered. A stochastic geometric approach is employed as the basis for our analysis. We further derive sufficient conditions for open access and closed access to outperform each other in terms of the outage probability, leading to closed-form expressions to upper and lower bound the difference in the targeted received power between the two access modes. Simulations are conducted to validate the accuracy of the analytical model and the correctness of the bounds.
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    Wei Wang, Baochun Li, Ben Liang
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    ABSTRACT: We study the multi-resource allocation problem in cloud computing systems where the resource pool is constructed from a large number of heterogeneous servers, representing different points in the configuration space of resources such as processing, memory, and storage. We design a multi-resource allocation mechanism, called DRFH, that generalizes the notion of Dominant Resource Fairness (DRF) from a single server to multiple heterogeneous servers. DRFH provides a number of highly desirable properties. With DRFH, no user prefers the allocation of another user; no one can improve its allocation without decreasing that of the others; and more importantly, no user has an incentive to lie about its resource demand. As a direct application, we design a simple heuristic that implements DRFH in real-world systems. Large-scale simulations driven by Google cluster traces show that DRFH significantly outperforms the traditional slot-based scheduler, leading to much higher resource utilization with substantially shorter job completion times.