Prof. Villari, CN4IoT 2015: ‘Time to change how we think’

On top of being an Associate Professor in Computer Engineering, and the Cloud Architect of CLEVER – a cloud middleware aimed at federated clouds – at the University of Messina in Italy, Prof. Massimo Villari also works as an IT Security and Distributed Systems Analyst in cloud computing, virtualization and storage for several EU Projects, and is involved with EU Future Internet activities. He investigates issues related to user mobility and security, and wireless, ad hoc and sensor networks. His research interests include virtualization, migration, security, federation, and autonomic systems. Additionally, he is the General Chair of CN4IoT, the international conference on Cloud, Networking for IoT systems that will take place in Rome on October 26-27, 2015 and will be co-located with the IOT360 Summit. We have talked to Prof. Villari to find out what to expect from this first edition of the conference:

The upcoming edition will be the first edition of CN4IoT. Could you briefly introduce the focus and objectives of the conference?

So, it has to be clear that this kind of conference is quite tough to manage because it is a little broad. It will look at different topics and cover many different areas of ICT expertise. In this conference we are looking to be really focused. Setting it up is no easy task because we are trying to find a single thread that goes from the cloud to networking and IOT. I prefer this kind of conferences because, usually, when you talk to people about IOT, they then realize at the end that they also have to deal with some more remote things. At the same time, one of the many opportunities related to the cloud is managing devices in networking and IOT. This is why we are trying to devise a way to put these worlds together in this way. Each area has slightly different requirements, and we try to overlap them. These are the main aims of this conference.

Prof. Massimo Villari, General Chair of CN4IoT 2015
Prof. Massimo Villari, General Chair of CN4IoT 2015

All of EAI’s conferences strive to bring researchers and practitioners together. Why is it important for them to collaborate within the fields of networking, the cloud, and IoT?

It’s an outcome of the cloud. The cloud has made the difference. Because, if I’m honest, before cloud, we had expertise in networking, in computation, in many areas. But the cloud, unfortunately for all of us, put all this stuff together.


Unfortunately, yes. Because it’s a challenge. Because, you know, it’s quite easy to stay in your home, to stay in your small garden, but now everyone around you is saying, come on, there is another garden behind you, and if you need some things, you have to get them from there, and to contribute. It’s about networking. Not only networking in the sense of meeting each other, but also making stuff together. Now, everybody is looking to improve networking, to effectively improve the quality of life of the citizens with IOT, to put everything in place to try and improve the experience of the common users. There are masses of users who like to use the cloud but it has to be easy to use, it must have a positive impact on their lives. Before, the cloud was an issue only ICT researchers were concerned with. Now, a lot of people are trying to involve lawyers and doctors… They use things like Dropbox, small things, and say it’s amazing, we can interact with each other, write in the same document, we can make progress in our work, the workflow is better. The workflow has changed. We realize that and try and move forward. It’s a challenge but it’s time to change how we think, and we are the first in the row.

Do you feel that practitioners are open to working with researchers?

Absolutely, but only under one crucial condition – the stuff should be easy to use.

In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting questions that research within these fields should strive to answer in the near future?

I repeat, one of the main things is the management of the cloud, of networking, and all this stuff. It is important to make it easy to set up so that it can be used by many people. This is important. Things like, for example, the cloud federation. But up to now this has all been split into different areas and we have to match them, to have one midware looking at different concepts and put them together like Lego, with the masses being the fundamental building block. The back end and the front end should be more appealing to attract more people, but the back end should also be much more complex because you have to take more of the parts into account, in a flexible and dynamic way. If you need something, it is up to you, you can easily build your own environment, you can use it for six months, you can destroy it. It’s all about IOT, networking, and the cloud.