APICe » Theses » Semantic Coordination Through Programmable Tuple Spaces

Semantic Coordination Through Programmable Tuple SpacesĀ 

Elena Nardini


Two of the main features of today complex software systems like pervasive computing systems and Internet-based applications are distribution and openness. Distribution revolves around three orthogonal dimensions: (i) distribution of control|systems are characterised by several independent computational entities and devices, each representing an autonomous and proactive locus of control; (ii) spatial distribution|entities and devices are physically distributed and connected in a global (such as the Internet) or local network; and (iii) temporal distribution|interacting system components come and go over time, and are not required to be available for interaction at the same time. Openness deals with the heterogeneity and dynamism of system components: complex computational systems are open to the integration of diverse components, heterogeneous in terms of architecture and technology, and are dynamic since they allow components to be updated, added, or removed while the system is running. The engineering of open and distributed computational systems mandates for the adoption of a software infrastructure whose underlying model and technology could provide the required level of uncoupling among system components. This is the main motivation behind current research trends in the area of coordination middleware to exploit tuple-based coordination models in the engineering of complex software systems, since they intrinsically provide coordinated components with communication uncoupling and further details in the references therein. An additional daunting challenge for tuple-based models comes from knowledge-intensive application scenarios, namely, scenarios where most of the activities are based on knowledge in some form|and where knowledge becomes the prominent means by which systems get coordinated. Handling knowledge in tuple-based systems induces problems in terms of syntax - e.g., two tuples containing the same data may not match due to differences in the tuple structure - and (mostly) of semantics|e.g., two tuples representing the same information may not match based on a dierent syntax adopted. Till now, the problem has been faced by exploiting tuple-based coordination within a middleware for knowledge intensive environments: e.g., experiments with tuple-based coordination within a Semantic Web middleware (surveys analogous approaches). However, they appear to be designed to tackle the design of coordination for specic application contexts like Semantic Web and Semantic Web Services, and they result in a rather involved extension of the tuple space model. The main goal of this thesis was to conceive a more general approach to semantic coordination. In particular, it was developed the model and technology of semantic tuple centres. It is adopted the tuple centre model as main coordination abstraction to manage system interactions. A tuple centre can be seen as a programmable tuple space, i.e. an extension of a Linda tuple space, where the behaviour of the tuple space can be programmed so as to react to interaction events. By encapsulating coordination laws within coordination media, tuple centres promote coordination uncoupling among coordinated components. Then, the tuple centre model was semantically enriched: a main design choice in this work was to try not to completely redesign the existing syntactic tuple space model, but rather provide a smooth extension that { although supporting semantic reasoning { keep the simplicity of tuple and tuple matching as easier as possible. By encapsulating the semantic representation of the domain of discourse within coordination media, semantic tuple centres promote semantic uncoupling among coordinated components. The main contributions of the thesis are: (i) the design of the semantic tuple centre model; (ii) the implementation and evaluation of the model based on an existent coordination infrastructure; (iii) a view of the application scenarios in which semantic tuple centres seem to be suitable as coordination media.


Andrea Omicini (Supervisor)
Antonio Natali Mirko Viroli (Co-supervisors)