Coordinating Distributed Speaking Objects

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Marco Lippi, Marco Mamei, Stefano Mariani, Franco Zambonelli
2017 IEEE 37th International Conference on Distributed Computing Systems (ICDCS), pages 1949-1960
June 2017

In this paper we sketch a vision of future environments densely populated by smart sensors and actuators - possibly embedded in everyday objects - that, rather than simply producing streams of data, are capable of understanding and reporting, via factual assertions and arguments, about what is happening (for sensors) and about what they can make possibly happen (for actuators). These "speaking objects" form the nodes of a dense distributed computing infrastructure that can be exploited to monitor and control activities in our everyday environment. However, the nature of speaking objects will dramatically change the approaches to implementing and coordinating the activities of distributed processes. In fact, distributed coordination is likely to become associated with the capability of argumenting about situations and about the current "state of the affairs", with the aim of triggering and directing proper distributed "conversations" to collectively reach a future desirable state. Accordingly, we discuss how such a novel vision can build upon some readily available technologies, and the research challenges that it poses. Two case studies are used as exemplary scenarios.

keywordsActuators;Auditory system;Automobiles;Distributed computing;Intelligent sensors;Monitoring;IoT;argumentation;conversational coordination;hearing objects;smart objects;speaking objects