New artificial intelligence technology for service virtualisation

Thursday 18 December 2014

The large waved Swinburne signage of the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre building in Hawthorn which faces East down Burwood Road.

Research conducted by a Swinburne University of Technology PhD student has redefined service virtualisation technology, with findings commercialised by CA Technologies.

Software engineering student Miao Du conducted the research in partnership with CA Technologies, resulting in the invention of a new process called opaque data processing. This enables a service to be emulated while eliminating the need for a typical data protocol handler.

Instead, opaque data processing matches requests based on byte-level patterns and provides accurate responses based on a company’s service transaction library. This is a network level recording of requests and responses – the larger the library, the more accurate the response as the more data it has to learn from, the more precise it becomes.

Ms Du used a genome-sequencing algorithm called Needleman-Wunsch to detect byte-level patterns in messages sent between services. This process enables a service to be virtualised in the absence of expert knowledge, explicit documentation, or needing to know the message structure.

For example, in a legacy mainframe system where the system expert has retired, opaque data processing can virtualise the service protocols of this system, which was previously impossible.

Based on Ms Du’s research, two international peer-reviewed conference papers have been published on opaque data processing, and four US patent applications have been filed.

“We are very excited with the results of this project with CA,” Dean of the School of Software and Electrical Engineering at Swinburne, Professor John Grundy, said.

“It is very rewarding to see the commercialisation of our work and to know that organisations worldwide will benefit from our discovery and be able to get applications to market faster with improved software development and testing environments.”

CA Technologies has worked with more than 40 universities around the world over the last decade and this innovation represents a significant contribution to its products.

“It’s an incredible accolade for Miao and the team to be part of a program that has dictated a product’s development and will be sold to customers across the world to help them thrive in the application economy,” Vice-President, Research at CA Technologies, Dr Steve Versteeg said.

Ms Du’s research was supervised by Swinburne Associate Professor Dr Jean-Guy Schneider and Professor Grundy along with Dr Versteeg. The team worked closely with CA senior service virtualisation architects in Dallas, Texas to identify new areas to be explored.

The project was managed jointly by CA’s research arm, CA Labs, and Swinburne as part of an Australian Research Council Linkage grant led by Swinburne’s Professor Jun Han. It combines Swinburne’s world-leading expertise in software engineering with the expertise of CA Technologies in service virtualisation and predictive analysis.

CA Technologies has been running research programs in association with Swinburne since 2006.