Edge computing is a distributed computing paradigm that brings computation and data storage closer to the sources of data. This is done to improve response times and save bandwidth. The "edge" refers to the edge of a network, closer to the devices that produce or consume data, as opposed to a centralized data center or cloud.
Here are the key steps involved in setting up an edge computing environment:
- Identify the Need: The first step is to understand why you need edge computing. Typically, this could be to reduce latency, conserve network bandwidth, operate reliably when network connectivity is poor, or to handle data privacy concerns.
- Design the Architecture: You need to plan how to distribute your computation between the edge and the cloud or data center. Not all processing needs to happen at the edge; some can happen in the cloud. Factors to consider include the volume of data produced, the need for real-time processing, and the capabilities of your edge devices.
- Select Edge Devices: An edge device could be anything from a smartphone to an Internet of Things (IoT) device like a sensor, or a more powerful device like a gateway. The choice depends on the computational requirements of your application.
- Develop the Application: Applications for edge computing may need to be designed differently. They should be able to handle network interruptions, and work with the limited resources available at the edge. Additionally, they should be able to communicate efficiently with the cloud or data center for any processing that happens there.
- Deploy and Manage: Once your application is ready, it needs to be deployed on the edge devices. This can be challenging because of the number of devices and their geographic distribution. You also need to plan for remote monitoring and management of these devices.
In the context of rescue robots, edge computing can be quite useful. It can enable the robot to process data locally (like images or sensor readings), make quick decisions, and operate reliably even when network connectivity is poor.