Of fog and clouds: How are we capable of conducting the computations for near real-time applications?

Narges Mehran, who came to Klagenfurt from Iran in order to pursue her doctoral studies, has specialized in cloud and fog computing as part of her doctoral thesis. These decentralized processing systems make it possible to reduce latency and processing times.

Let’s consider the example of a smart home, equipped with dozens of small devices with sensors that control the technological applications of the house: If it is too warm, blinds are used to shut out the sunlight; when you get up in the morning, the coffee machine switches on automatically and the management of the refrigerator is taken over by sensors and apps. In a world full of such Internet-of-Things devices – Narges Mehran estimates that there will be billions of IoT devices in just a few years – an enormous volume of data is generated that must be processed quickly and in a manner that conserves resources.

The solution for real-time processing could be fog computing. This form of data processing shifts computing power to the edge of the network so that data no longer has to travel great distances to central servers. Instead, micro data centres will be set up in the vicinity of the IoT devices, which can finish the processing much faster.

Narges Mehran, a member of the Department of Information Technology and part of Radu Prodan’s research group, is working on defining the different characteristics of these applications and assigning priorities to them to be placed on resources of cloud and fog environment. “When such systems are used, we always have to ask ourselves how complex their design has to be in order to guarantee the lowest possible latency or processing time. Where can we compromise, perhaps even at lower costs, and energy concumptions?“ Narges Mehran is advancing in her work and has been working on her PhD thesis for the last eighteen months. She completed both her Bachelor’s and Master’s studies at the University of Isfahan in Iran. When she first arrived in Klagenfurt after coming from a city with 2 million inhabitants, her early months in Austria were marked by many amazing experiences: “The weather was beautiful, the environment was fresh and green, everything was very clean. I quickly realized that I wanted to stay here for a while. Klagenfurt offers the perfect conditions for working on your PhD thesis, you can concentrate incredibly well. It’s very inspiring”, she tells us.

The fact that she lives a long way from her parents and friends became painfully clear to her at the beginning of the corona crisis in March. Yet modern communication technologies are useful helpers that make this kind of life situation much more bearable. Narges Mehran explains: “We can chat for hours now.” Laughing, she adds: “Sometimes we communicate even more than my parents talk to their neighbours.”

Narges Mehran would like to stay in the academic world when her PhD thesis is scheduled for completion in 2022. “Industrial and academic research each have advantages and disadvantages. It is important to stay in constant dialogue and to be able to communicate the current state of affairs to our students. However, I would like to remain in a university setting and contribute as much as possible to technological progress there,” she explains.

A few words with …. Narges Mehran

What would you be doing now, if you had not become a scientist?

Thanks for calling me a scientist, though I still have to work hard to achieve this milestone. However, if I had not chosen an academic career, I would have chosen to be an IT engineer.

Do your parents understand what it is you are working on?

For the most part they do. They actually motivated and gave me the vision to start this phase of my life.

What is the first thing you do when you arrive at the office in the morning?

I talk about the daily tasks assigned for the day.

Do you have proper holidays? Without thinking about your work?

Not really.

What makes you furious?


What calms you down?

A smile of satisfaction.

Who do you regard as the greatest scientist in history, and why?

John Nash, an American mathematician. Although he suffered from schizophrenia, his landmark Nash Equilibrium and contributions to game theory, widely used in different fields of studies, were inspired from daily life.

What embarrasses you?

To find I have distracted someone whom I have been helping.

What are you afraid of?

A time when my beloved ones do not answer my phone calls.

What are you looking forward to?

At the moment, finishing the PhD successfully.


Studying technology at the University of Klagenfurt

Research and teaching excellence is what sets the University of Klagenfurt’s technology programmes apart. Established in 2007, the Faculty of Technical Sciences prides itself on its exceptional student-supervisor relationships, which facilitate continuous, profitable exchange between tutors and students at all levels. Our technology programmes, which have a large practical component and focus on our key strengths (e.g. Informatics, Information Technology and Technical Mathematics), open up a world of opportunities for our students. And if you decide to take a Joint or Double Degree, you can also gain new experience overseas by taking a semester abroad or attending a summer school. Mehr