265 research outputs found

    Towards Reinforcement Learning-based Aggregate Computing

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    Recent trends in pervasive computing promote the vision of Collective Adaptive Systems (CASs): large-scale collections of relatively simple agents that act and coordinate with no central orchestrator to support distributed applications. Engineering global behaviour out of local activity and interaction, however, is a difficult task, typically addressed by try-and-error approaches in simulation environments. In the context of Aggregate Computing (AC), a prominent functional programming approach for CASs based on field-based coordination, this difficulty is reflected in the design of versatile algorithms preserving efficiency in a variety of environments. To deal with this complexity, in this work we propose to apply Machine Learning techniques to automatically devise local actions to improve over manually-defined AC algorithms specifications. Most specifically, we adopt a Reinforcement Learning-based approach to let a collective learn local policies to improve over the standard gradient algorithm—a cornerstone brick of several higher-level self-organisation algorithms. Our evaluation shows that the learned policies can speed up the self-stabilisation of the gradient to external perturbations

    Machine Learning for Aggregate Computing: a Research Roadmap

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    Aggregate computing is a macro-approach for programming collective intelligence and self-organisation in distributed systems. In this paradigm, a single 'aggregate program' drives the collective behaviour of the system, provided that the agents follow an execution protocol consisting of asynchronous sense-compute-act rounds. For actual execution, a proper aggregate computing middleware or platform has to be deployed across the nodes of the target distributed system, to support the services needed for the execution of applications. Overall, the engineering of aggregate computing applications is a rich activity that spans multiple concerns including designing the aggregate program, developing reusable algorithms, detailing the execution model, and choosing a deployment based on available infrastructure. Traditionally, these activities have been carried out through ad-hoc designs and implementations tailored to specific contexts and goals. To overcome the complexity and cost of manually tailoring or fixing algorithms, execution details, and deployments, we propose to use machine learning techniques, to automatically create policies for applications and their management. To support such a goal, we detail a rich research roadmap, showing opportunities and challenges of integrating aggregate computing and learning

    Towards Adaptive Flow Programming for the IoT: The Fluidware Approach

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    The objective of this position paper is to present Fluidware, a proposal towards an innovative programming model for the IoT, conceived to ease the development of flexible and robust large-scale IoT services and applications. The key innovative idea of Fluidware is to abstract collectives of devices of the IoT fabric as sources, digesters, and targets of distributed 'flows' of contextualized events, carrying information about data produced and actuating commands. Accordingly, programming services and applications implies declaratively specifying 'funnel processes' to channel, elaborate, and re-direct such flows in a fully-distributed way, as a means to coordinate the activities of devices and realize services and applications. The potential applicability of Fluidware and its expected advantages are exemplified via example in the area of ambient assisted living

    Resilient distributed collection through information speed thresholds

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    Part 6: Large-Scale Decentralised SystemsInternational audienceOne of the key coordination problems in physically-deployed distributed systems, such as mobile robots, wireless sensor networks, and IoT systems in general, is to provide notions of “distributed sensing” achieved by the strict, continuous cooperation and interaction among individual devices. An archetypal operation of distributed sensing is data summarisation over a region of space, by which several higher-level problems can be addressed: counting items, measuring space, averaging environmental values, and so on. A typical coordination strategy to perform data summarisation in a peer-to-peer scenario, where devices can communicate only with a neighbourhood, is to progressively accumulate information towards one or more collector devices, though this typically exhibits problems of reactivity and fragility, especially in scenarios featuring high mobility. In this paper, we propose coordination strategies for data summarisation involving both idempotent and arithmetic aggregation operators, with the idea of controlling the minimum information propagation speed, so as to improve the reactivity to input changes. Given suitable assumptions on the network model, and under the restriction of no data loss, these algorithms achieve optimal reactivity. By empirical evaluation via simulation, accounting for various sources of volatility, and comparing to other existing implementations of data summarisation algorithms, we show that our algorithms are able to retain adequate accuracy even in high-variability scenarios where all other algorithms are significantly diverging from correct estimations

    Time-fluid field-based coordination

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    Emerging application scenarios, such as cyber-physical systems (CPSs), the Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing, call for coordination approaches addressing openness, self-adaptation, heterogeneity, and deployment agnosticism. Field-based coordination is one such approach, promoting the idea of programming system coordination declaratively from a global perspective, in terms of functional manipulation and evolution in \u201cspace and time\u201d of distributed data structures, called fields. More specifically, regarding time, in field-based coordination it is assumed that local activities in each device, called computational rounds, are regulated by a fixed clock, typically, a fair and unsynchronized distributed scheduler. In this work, we challenge this assumption, and propose an alternative approach where the round execution scheduling is naturally programmed along with the usual coordination specification, namely, in terms of a field of causal relations dictating what is the notion of causality (why and when a round has to be locally scheduled) and how it should change across time and space. This abstraction over the traditional view on global time allows us to express what we call \u201ctime-fluid\u201d coordination, where causality can be finely tuned to select the event triggers to react to, up to to achieve improved balance between performance (system reactivity) and cost (usage of computational resources). We propose an implementation in the aggregate computing framework, and evaluate via simulation on a case study

    Computation Against a Neighbour: Addressing Large-Scale Distribution and Adaptivity with Functional Programming and Scala

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    Recent works in contexts like the Internet of Things (IoT) and large-scale Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) propose the idea of programming distributed systems by focussing on their global behaviour across space and time. In this view, a potentially vast and heterogeneous set of devices is considered as an “aggregate” to be programmed as a whole, while abstracting away the details of individual behaviour and exchange of messages, which are expressed declaratively. One such a paradigm, known as aggregate programming, builds on computational models inspired by field-based coordination. Existing models such as the field calculus capture interaction with neighbours by a so-called “neighbouring field” (a map from neighbours to values). This requires ad-hoc mechanisms to smoothly compose with standard values, thus complicating programming and introducing clutter in aggregate programs, libraries and domain-specific languages (DSLs). To address this key issue we introduce the novel notion of “computation against a neighbour”, whereby the evaluation of certain subexpressions of the aggregate program are affected by recent corresponding evaluations in neighbours. We capture this notion in the neighbours calculus (NC), a new field calculus variant which is shown to smoothly support declarative specification of interaction with neighbours, and correspondingly facilitate the embedding of field computations as internal DSLs in common general-purpose programming languages—as exemplified by a Scala implementation, called ScaFi. This paper formalises NC, thoroughly compares it with respect to the classic field calculus, and shows its expressiveness by means of a case study in edge computing, developed in ScaFi

    Time-fluid field-based coordination

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    Emerging application scenarios, such as cyber-physical systems (CPSs), the Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing, call for coordination approaches addressing openness, self-adaptation, heterogeneity, and deployment agnosticism. Field-based coordination is one such approach, promoting the idea of programming system coordination declaratively from a global perspective, in terms of functional manipulation and evolution in “space and time” of distributed data structures, called fields. More specifically, regarding time, in field-based coordination it is assumed that local activities in each device, called computational rounds, are regulated by a fixed clock, typically, a fair and unsynchronized distributed scheduler. In this work, we challenge this assumption, and propose an alternative approach where the round execution scheduling is naturally programmed along with the usual coordination specification, namely, in terms of a field of causal relations dictating what is the notion of causality (why and when a round has to be locally scheduled) and how it should change across time and space. This abstraction over the traditional view on global time allows us to express what we call “time-fluid” coordination, where causality can be finely tuned to select the event triggers to react to, up to to achieve improved balance between performance (system reactivity) and cost (usage of computational resources). We propose an implementation in the aggregate computing framework, and evaluate via simulation on a case study

    Augmented Collective Digital Twins for Self-Organising Cyber-Physical Systems

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    Context. Self-organising and collective computing approaches are increasingly applied to large-scale cyber-physical systems (CPS), enabling them to adapt and cooperate in dynamic environments. Also, in CPS engineering, digital twins are often leveraged to provide synchronised logical counterparts of physical entities, whereas in sensor networks the different-but-related concept of virtual device is used e.g. to abstract groups of sensors. Vision. We envision the design concept of 'augmented collective digital twin' that captures digital twins at a collective level extended with purely virtual devices. We argue that this concept can foster the engineering of self-organising CPS by providing a holistic, declarative, and integrated system view. Method. From a review and proposed taxonomy of logical devices comprehending both digital twins and virtual devices, we reinterpret a meta-model for self-organising CPSs and discuss how it can support augmented collective digital twins. We illustrate the approach in a crowd-aware navigation scenario, where virtual devices are opportunistically integrated into the system to enhance spatial coverage, improving navigation capabilities. Conclusion. By integrating physical and virtual devices, the novel notion of augmented collective digital twin paves the way to self-improving system functionality and intelligent use of resources in self-organising CPSs. Conclusion. By integrating physical and virtual devices, the novel notion of augmented collective digital twin paves the way to self-improving system functionality and intelligent use of resources in self-organising CPSs
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