Minimum Overhead Beamforming and Resource Allocation in D2D Edge Networks

Device-to-device (D2D) communications is expected to be a critical enabler of distributed computing in edge networks at scale. A key challenge in providing this capability is the requirement for judicious management of the heterogeneous communication and computation resources that exist at the edge to meet processing needs. In this paper, we develop an optimization methodology that considers topology configuration jointly with device and network resource allocation to minimize total D2D overhead, which we quantify in terms of time and energy required for task processing. Variables in our model include task assignment, CPU allocation, subchannel selection, and beamforming design for multiple input multiple output (MIMO) wireless devices. We propose two methods to solve the resulting non-convex mixed integer program: semi-exhaustive search optimization, which represents a "best-effort" at obtaining the optimal solution, and efficient alternate optimization, which is more computationally efficient. As a component of these two methods, we develop a coordinated beamforming algorithm which we show obtains the optimal beamformer for a common receiver characteristic. Through numerical experiments, we find that our methodology yields substantial improvements in network overhead compared with local computation and partially optimized methods, which validates our joint optimization approach. Further, we find that the efficient alternate optimization scales well with the number of nodes, and thus can be a practical solution for D2D computing in large networks.


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I Introduction

The number of wireless devices is now over billion, and with the advent of new 5G-and-beyond technologies, this is expected to grow to billion by 2022 [10]

. Many of these devices will be data-processing-capable nodes in the hands of users that facilitate rapidly growing data-intensive applications running at the network edge, e.g., social networking, video streaming, and distributed data analytics. Given the bursty nature of user demands, when certain devices are occupied with processing for computationally-intensive applications, e.g., facial recognition, location-based augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR), and online 3D gaming, it may be desirable for them to offload their data to devices with underutilized resources 

[41, 40, 29]. Traditionally, cloud computing architectures, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, have been adopted for such data intensive applications, but the exponential rise in data generation at the edge is making centralized architectures infeasible for providing latency-sensitive quality of service at scale [10].

As a current trend in wireless networks is reducing cell sizes [32], many 5G networks will be dense with short distances, forming several smaller subnets [11]. Networks of small subnets combined with improved computational and storage capabilities of edge devices are enabling mobile edge computing (MEC) architectures. At a high level, MEC leverages radio access networks (RANs) to boost computing power in close proximity to end-users, thus enabling the users to offload their computations to an edge server (central processing entity) as shown in Fig. 0(a) [8, 23, 28, 3, 26, 42, 27, 7]. In an MEC architecture, the edge servers have high-performance computing units which can process large amounts of computationally intensive tasks efficiently. This concept has been extended to “helper” edge server architectures as well, where devices with idle computation resources become (small) edge servers [6, 12, 9, 39, 17, 20].

(a) MEC
(b) D2D
Fig. 1: High-level comparison between the topologies of (a) mobile edge computing (MEC) systems and (b) device-to-device (D2D) networks. MEC topology is typically fixed and predetermined, while D2D topology is not and can support offloading between devices.

The current trend in distributed computing, though, is a migration to architectures that are more decentralized than MEC. This is due to the fact that all edge nodes can take part in data offloading at different times, given the advances in 5G communication technologies in conjunction with improved computational capabilities of individual devices. For this reason, device-to-device (D2D) network architectures (shown in Fig. 0(b)) that were previously studied in 4G LTE standards now hold the promise of providing distributed computing at scale [15].

Unlike the MEC system in Fig. 0(a), distributed computing in the D2D network of Fig. 0(b) will have more complicated topology management needs that must be considered together with the management of device resources. From a computation perspective, the edge nodes that receive offloaded tasks must have a suitable strategy for allocating its central processing unit (CPU) and/or storage resources to the tasks. From a communication perspective, wireless transmissions among edge nodes participating in data offloading will inevitably incur inter-channel interference, which requires interference management via strategies to allocate subchannels, transmission powers, antenna array gains, and other device transmit resources. The focus of this paper is on addressing these challenges: we develop methodologies that jointly optimize computation and communication resources together with topology configuration in D2D networks to adapt to minimize overhead in edge computing systems.

I-a Related Work and Differentiation

We discuss related works on task offloading, resource management, and edge computing. We divide our analysis into two main categories: MEC and D2D.

I-A1 MEC systems

Researchers have developed methods for resource management and offloading decision-making to maximize MEC system performance. Offloading decisions were thoroughly studied in [8], where management of device resources is assumed to be fixed. On the other hand, under the assumption that offloading decisions are given, studies have considered optimal allocations of CPU and subchannel resources [23], and have also considered these together with beamforming design for multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) systems [28, 3]. In a large network with limited subchannels, beamforming design is essential to mitigate inevitable inter-channel interferences for robust data transfer and optimization. Recently, offloading decisions have been considered together with management of resources in MEC systems such as CPU [42, 27, 7, 26], subchannels [42], transmit powers [42, 27], and beamforming design [27]. Although many of these works have considered some computation and communication resources, they have not yet addressed all of the important variables in a unified optimization problem.

Though we focus on D2D in this paper, as mentioned previously, newer MEC architectures allow idle devices in close proximity to be dedicated computing nodes. Therefore, optimization in MEC systems can be viewed as a special case of D2D networks, where offloading is restricted to specific devices unidirectionally.

I-A2 D2D networks

Several prior works have focused on optimizing communication quality in D2D systems, where the objectives have been to maximize sum-rate [14, 36, 44, 22, 13, 37], spectral efficiency [24]

, or signal-to-noise ratio (SINR)

[34], with consideration of device and channel resources such as subchannels [14, 36, 44, 22, 13], transmit powers [44, 22, 13], and beamforming design for MIMO systems [24, 34]. In this work, by contrast, we are focused on optimizing these and other system parameters to minimize time and energy consumption required to complete a task, which is an important objective in edge computing systems. Works on D2D in edge computing have primarily focused on D2D-enabled (or D2D-assisted) MEC systems where several helper nodes are available as dedicated nodes for computing together with the edge server. In this respect, within a fixed topology, [6] investigated energy minimization based on CPU and transmission power allocation, and [12] studied joint time and energy minimization based on CPU, subchannel, and transmission power allocation. On the other hand, for a given set of system resources, the strategy of topology reconfiguration was discussed to minimize total energy in [9]. Some recent works have addressed topology configuration together with the allocation of specific resources such as CPU [39, 17, 20] and power [39, 17]. However, we are not aware of any work that has addressed computation, communication, and topology configuration together in a unified optimization model for D2D edge computing, which is the focus of our paper. Also, we consider the fully distributed case where there are no edge servers or dedicated nodes for computing, which makes the topology configuration problem more challenging.

I-B Summary of Contributions

Compared to the related works discussed in Section I-A, the contributions of this paper are as follows:

  • We formulate a unified optimization model for D2D edge computing networks that minimizes total network overhead, defined as the weighted sum of time and energy consumption required to process a given task. Our model includes a framework for joint topology configuration, CPU allocation, subchannel allocation, and beamforming design for MIMO systems (Sections II and III).

  • We propose two methods for minimizing the total network overhead in our model, which we refer to as semi-exhaustive search optimization and efficient alternate optimization. We compare these two methods in terms of optimality guarantees and computational complexity in solving our non-convex problem, and show that semi-exhaustive search optimization can be viewed as a “best effort” to obtaining the optimal solution in a realistic amount of time, but that its complexity becomes problematic as the size of the network grows (Section IV).

  • In developing these methods, we study the decomposition of the optimization into several subproblems: topology design, CPU allocation, and beamforming design. In particular, we solve for beamforming design problem for fixed resource allocation as a sub-problem of overall optimization. We derive minimum communication overhead beamforming (MCOB), a coordinated beamforming algorithm which we show obtains the optimal beamformer for a minimum mean squared error receiver (Section IV).

  • We conduct several numerical experiments to evaluate the performance of our network overhead optimization methodology. Our results show, for example, that our two proposed algorithms for efficient data offloading can reduce the total overhead in D2D networks by 20%-30% compared to computation without offloading (Section V).

Ii Wireless Device-to-device
(D2D) Network Model

In this section, we develop our models for computational tasks, wireless signals, and the allocation of network resources in D2D systems.

Ii-a Task Model

We let be the set of nodes in the D2D network, with a total of nodes. Each node has a task to be completed, consisting of computational work involved in data processing, where the objective of the data processing is generically to perform a transformation from input to output data. For simplicity, we assume that each node has a single task that should be processed as a whole. This means that the task processing and its input data cannot be subdivided. A task is considered to be completed when the input data is successfully processed to the desired output. In general, task completion requires computational resources including CPU, RAM, and storage. In this paper, similar to previous works [42, 27, 7, 39, 17, 20], we focus on CPU as the computation resource. In case of mobile devices, many of today’s tasks require computation-intensive processing with high CPU requirements, such as 3D-gaming and location-based augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) [41, 40, 29].

To quantify the complexity of the task for node (which we will refer to succinctly as task ), we introduce data size (in bits), which is the length of the bit stream of input data consisting of task . In other words, the bit stream of input data is represented as . Then, data workload is denoted as (in cycles), where (in cycles/bit) is the processing density, meaning how many CPU cycles are required to process a bit of data. That is, represents total number of CPU cycles required to complete task . The processing density depends on the application; for example, in the case of the audio signal detection in [19], since 500 cycles are required for processing 1 bit of data, is 500.

Ii-B Signal Model

Fig. 2: Wireless device-to-device (D2D) network model among nodes. Node transmits according to a beamformer to receive node through subchannel characterized as , which is decoded with a receive combiner .

Fig. 2 demonstrates our wireless D2D channel model among a set of nodes. We assume that the nodes can transmit using multiple antennas on subchannels, where the set of subchannels is denoted . Each node receives a signal through subchannel in our model as


where is the number of antennas of node . The scalar denotes the transmit signal sent by node with unit power , where

can be understood as a single channel use of a Gaussian codeword vector that is encoded with

bits per channel use. The vector is the transmit beamformer of node with transmission power constraint , i.e., . Also, the matrix denotes a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) channel from transmit node to receive node through subchannel . The noise vector is assumed to be complex additive Gaussian noise with zero mean and identity covariance matrix, i.e., . The scalar is an indicator of whether transmit node uses subchannel for transmission. In this paper, we assume that the transmit node uses only one subchannel for transmission; in other words, if , then .

At receive node on subchannel , we consider a linear receive combiner

so that the estimated value

is given by


where a superscript denotes the conjugate transpose.

Ii-C Task and Resource Allocation

The assignment of tasks to either offloading or local processing determines the D2D network topology. Constraints on how subchannels and processing resources are allocated must be specified based on these assignments.

Ii-C1 Task assignment

Each task can be either processed locally at node or offloaded to another node for processing. We define as the task assignment variable of whether task is assigned to node for . If , then we have local processing of task at node . On the other hand, if for some , then we have offloaded processing where task is offloaded from to and processed at node . The set of task assignments is denoted by


Due to the assumption that each task should be processed as a whole, task should be assigned to only one node, which implies the constraint that


Ii-C2 Subchannel allocation

The task assignment specifies the configuration of how the nodes communicate with each other. Therefore, the subchannel allocation variable is related to task assignment variable as


implies node is a transmit node, because task is not locally processed at node , implying transmission to another node. In this case, transmit node uses one of the subchannels for transmission, i.e., . On the other hand, if node is not a transmit node, then and there is no subchannel allocation for node , i.e., .

Each of the subchannels is assumed to have equal and non-overlapping bandwidth of width . Consider, however, the case that node receives multiple tasks from multiple transmit nodes. If same subchannel is used by these transmitters, the receive node must jointly decode the data of tasks, which leads to degraded decoding performance. Therefore, in this paper, we follow prior work and assume that the transmit nodes that transmit to the same receive node use different subchannels [35]. In other words, for each receive node , we restrict the number of transmitters on subchannel according to


where denotes the set of transmit nodes that transmit to the receive node given by


Ii-C3 Computational resource allocation

Consider that node has multiple tasks to complete (its own and/or those offloaded to it). Its computational resource (CPU) will be shared across these multiple tasks, where (in cycles/sec or Hz) denotes the available CPU of node . We define the amount of CPU resource of node allocated to task as , which is subject to the constraints


In (8), the total CPU resource allocated cannot exceed the available CPU resource for each node . In (9), implies that task has not been assigned to node , so no CPU resources will be allocated to task . In (10), the allocated CPU is restricted to a positive real value.

Iii D2D Network Optimization Model

In this section, we formulate the optimization problem for minimizing D2D network task completion overhead. We define the total network overhead as a cost function to be minimized, consisting of both computation and communication overhead.

Iii-a Computation Overhead

We first define the computation overhead associated with node offloading to node . Based on the models from Section II, we can compute the computation time (in seconds) of task computed at node according to


The computation energy consumption (in Joules) can be computed as


where is the energy coefficient (in Joules seconds/cycles) of node that depends on the processor chip architecture [38]. Here, denotes the energy consumption per cycle (in units of Joules/cycle).

With this, we define the computation overhead as the weighted sum of time and energy consumption, given by


where is a demand overhead factor. From (11) and (12), note that the time consumption and energy consumption have tradeoff relationship with respect to computation resources: as more computation resources are used, computation time decreases while computation energy increases. The overhead factor trades off the importance of these two factors, and should be determined by the requirement of task . For example, node with stringent requirement on task completion time can have a lower in order to place more importance on shortening the time at the expense of more energy consumption. gives the local computation overhead where task is locally processed at node .

Iii-B Communication Overhead

We now define the communication overhead associated with transmission of a task from node to . When , we can write the signal to interference plus noise ratio (SINR) from node to node on subchannel as


where all other transmit nodes using subchannel are interferences to the data stream from node when it uses subchannel .

Assuming perfect channel state information (CSI), we can write the maximum achievable data rate (in bits/second) from node to node on subchannel as


where is the bandwidth of each frequency subchannel. Then, the total maximum achievable data rate from node to node over all subchannels is


When node is a transmitter, by (5), only one subchannel is active. In other words, when , for , leading to . Letting be the active subchannel for node , i.e., satisfying , the achievable rate is


Given the data rate, we can compute the communication time (in seconds) from offloading node ’s task to as


The communication energy consumption for node corresponding to the link from to is


where is the constant circuit power including power dissipations in the transmit filter, mixer, and digital-to-analog converter, which are independent of the actual transmit power .

With these expressions for and , the communication overhead is defined with respect to the overhead factor as


Note that there is a tradeoff between and with respect to the transmit power : as more power is applied, decreases due to the increasing data rate in (17), while increases because increases.

Iii-C Total Network Overhead

Recall that there are two possibilities for task : (i) local processing, i.e., , and (ii) offloaded processing, i.e., for some . Local processing only incurs computation overhead while offloaded processing incurs both communication and computation overhead, . With this, for a given D2D network topology configuration, we can write the total network overhead to complete all tasks in the network as


Iii-D Optimization Formulation

We now formulate the problem jointly optimizing the D2D network parameters to achieve the minimum total network overhead

. The degrees of freedom available are the task assignments

, computational resource allocations , subchannel allocations , and beamforming design variables involving transmit beamformers and receive combiners . The optimization problem is given by:

minimize (22)
subject to (23)

Constraints (23)-(27) and (30)-(32) account for task assignment, subchannel allocation, and CPU allocation requirements, which were described in Section II-C. (29) captures the constraint for the transmission power budget of an individual node. Note that there is no constraint on such as a maximum magnitude restriction because the data rate is not affected by the magnitude of .

Assuming all nodes have antennas, meaning that for all , the optimization is a mixed integer program (MIP) with non-integer variables from , , , and integer variables from , . The function is non-convex with respect to and , which makes the problem a non-convex MIP. Existing solvers for non-convex MIPs do not scale well with the number of variables [5], and even in a relatively small D2D setting with nodes, subchannels, and antennas, our problem has already more than 2000 variables. We next turn to addressing the challenge of solving this optimization at scale.

Iii-E D2D Network Optimization Assumptions

A few assumptions made on the D2D model in this section are noteworthy. First, although the network states will be dynamic over time, we assume a quasi-static scenario with active nodes and fixed channels during one codeword block, similar to previous works [23, 28, 3, 42, 27, 7, 26, 6, 12, 39, 17]. The algorithms we develop for solving the optimization (22)-(32) in Section IV could then be applied to each quasi-static scenario as the number of nodes and channel conditions change, or at some suitable time interval. Second, we assume the availability of a network operator, e.g., a base station, which can solve the optimization in a centralized manner via measurements of CSI, availability of subchannels, and knowledge of computation resources. This operator does not provide any additional computational capability to the D2D network as we assume it is occupied solving the optimization. Third, we do not take into account the process of transferring the result of an offloaded task computation back to the source node. We consider that the output data is negligible in size compared with the task so that it can be transferred through the network with minimal load.

Iv Optimization Algorithms

In this section, we develop two methods for solving the minimum overhead optimization problem (22)-(32). The first method, semi-exhaustive search, provides a best-effort attempt to obtain the optimal solution, but has exponential complexity. The second method, efficient alternate optimization, reduces the complexity to polynomial time, for which we use semi-exhaustive search as an optimality benchmark.

Iv-a Semi-Exhaustive Search Optimization

Given the task assignments and subchannel allocations variables are binary, an intuitive approach to solving the optimization is to exhaustively search through all of their possibilities, so long as the search space is not prohibitively large. Then, for each possibility, we can derive solvers for the non-integer variables , , and . We refer to this method as semi-exhaustive search. The overall procedure is described in Algorithm 1: each choice of and satisfying constraints (23)-(27) is considered. For given task assignments , we solve the CPU allocation problem for the processing resources , which is a convex problem. In addition, for fixed task assignments and subchannel allocations , we solve the problem with respect to the beamformers and combiners , which is a beamforming design problem. We will develop solutions to these two problems in the rest of this section.

Iv-A1 CPU allocation

With task assignments determined, the optimization problem (22)-(32) with respect to CPU allocations can be reduced to

minimize (33)
subject to (34)

The problem can be decomposed into independent subproblems: each node can allocate its own CPU regardless of the others. For each node , the optimization problem is given as

minimize (35)
subject to (36)

Note that is convex with respect to (since all parameters in are positive) and the constraints (30)-(32) are also convex. Therefore, optimization (33)-(34) is convex. The decomposed subproblem (35)-(37) for each is also a convex problem that can be easily solved.

1:  Initialize
2:  Set and (e.g., ).
3:  repeat
4:      Generate new and , which satisfy the conditions (23)-(27).
5:      CPU allocation: Solve for with from (35)-(37)
6:     Beamforming design: Solve for and with and from Algorithm 2.
7:     Calculate in (21) with the solution set .
8:     if  then
9:         Update and .
10:     end if
11:  until  There is no possible case of and
12:  return   in
Algorithm 1 Semi-exhaustive search optimization

Iv-A2 Beamforming design

With task assignments and subchannel allocations determined, the optimization problem (22)-(32) with respect to the beamforming design variables and , can be reduced to

minimize (38)
subject to (39)

We refer to this as the minimum communication overhead beamforming (MCOB) problem. Conventionally, objective functions in beamforming resource allocation problems take the form of sum rate or sum harmonic rate utility functions [18]. In our D2D setting, the objective instead becomes the weighted sum of time and energy consumption for transmission.

We are interested in determining the variables and related to active data streams, i.e., for , , and with and . Denote set of all transmit nodes as from (7). Since each node offloads to one on one subchannel , we index this datastream as the tuple .111Once and are determined, the tuple is specified by and can be written as . For convenience, we are omitting the dependency of and on . Our problem can be then rewritten as

minimize (40)
subject to (41)

This problem is non-convex and hard to solve due to due to the logarithm term in the data rate in (17). However, if the beamformers222In this case, the notation is short for which denotes all variables with . Throughout the paper, the context will make the distinction clear. The same simplification is applied for , , , and . are fixed, minimizing (40) leads to the well known minimum mean square error (MMSE) receiver. If we restrict ourselves to using MMSE receiver, we can transform the data rate into a quadratic form with the following lemma.

Lemma 1.

With an MMSE-designed receiver, the data rate in (17) can be represented in quadratic form as




is an auxiliary variable, and the term is the MSE of receive node given by


The proof is immediate from [31]. Since is concave with respect to each of the variables , and , the optimal solution to (42) is


where . Note that is the MMSE receiver solution.

Using the formulation in Lemma 1, the optimization problem (40)-(41) can be written as

minimize (47)
subject to (48)



For a given , the optimal solutions of and for (47)-(48) are given by (45) and (46). Moreover, for given and , the function is convex and is concave with respect to . Optimization (47)-(48) with respect to is thus a convex-concave multiple-ratio fractional programming problem [30], which is not convex. Motivated by [16], we will exploit the fractional programming approach to solve it.

Specifically, we have the following theorem, which introduces an equivalent problem that is convex with respect to each individual set of variables , , and when two other sets of variables and are introduced.

Theorem 1.

Consider the optimization problem

minimize (50)
subject to (51)

and the system equations


If , , and are solutions of the problem (50)-(51) and also simultaneously satisfy the system equations in (52), then they are optimal solutions to (47)-(48).

The proof of Theorem 1 is relegated to the Appendix. Optimization (47)-(48) is equivalent to (50)-(52) in the sense that they have the same globally optimal solutions. Using the fact that optimization (50)-(51) is convex with respect to each set of variables , , and , we will solve for each set, iteratively, which will yield solutions with and being fixed. Specifically, we propose an iterative algorithm to solve (50)-(51) and satisfy the system equations (52) simultaneously: given and , we solve for , , and , and then update and from the updated variables , , and .

To solve (50)-(51) for fixed and , we use the block coordinate descent (BCD) method, where each set of the variables is solved fixing the other two. In particular, with and fixed, the optimal solution of each is given in (45). With and fixed, the optimal solution of each is given in (46). The remaining part is to solve for with and fixed.

To solve for , the objective function in (50) can be organized as follows by replacing and with (43) and (49):