Optimized Computation Offloading Performance in Virtual Edge Computing Systems via Deep Reinforcement Learning

Xianfu Chen, Honggang Zhang, Celimuge Wu, Shiwen Mao, Yusheng Ji, Mehdi Bennis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    492 Citations (Scopus)


    To improve the quality of computation experience for mobile devices, mobile-edge computing (MEC) is a promising paradigm by providing computing capabilities in close proximity within a sliced radio access network (RAN), which supports both traditional communication and MEC services. Nevertheless, the design of computation offloading policies for a virtual MEC system remains challenging. Specifically, whether to execute a computation task at the mobile device or to offload it for MEC server execution should adapt to the time-varying network dynamics. This paper considers MEC for a representative mobile user in an ultradense sliced RAN, where multiple base stations (BSs) are available to be selected for computation offloading. The problem of solving an optimal computation offloading policy is modeled as a Markov decision process, where our objective is to maximize the long-term utility performance whereby an offloading decision is made based on the task queue state, the energy queue state as well as the channel qualities between mobile user and BSs. To break the curse of high dimensionality in state space, we first propose a double deep Q -network (DQN)-based strategic computation offloading algorithm to learn the optimal policy without knowing a priori knowledge of network dynamics. Then motivated by the additive structure of the utility function, a Q -function decomposition technique is combined with the double DQN, which leads to a novel learning algorithm for the solving of stochastic computation offloading. Numerical experiments show that our proposed learning algorithms achieve a significant improvement in computation offloading performance compared with the baseline policies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number8493155
    Pages (from-to)4005-4018
    JournalIEEE Internet of Things Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • deep reinforcement learning
    • Electronic mail
    • Heuristic algorithms
    • Markov decision process
    • Mobile handsets
    • mobile-edge computing
    • Network slicing
    • network virtualization
    • Q-function decomposition.
    • radio access networks
    • Servers
    • Stochastic processes
    • Task analysis
    • Wireless communication


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    • The IEEE Communications Society Outstanding Paper Award

      Chen, Xianfu (Recipient), Zhang, Honggang (Recipient), Wu, Celimuge (Recipient), Mao, Shiwen (Recipient), Ji, Yusheng (Recipient) & Bennis, Mehdi (Recipient), 2021

      Prize: Prize for a work

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