Collective Adaptive Systems as Coordination Media: The Case of Tuples in Space-Time

Roberto Casadei, Mirko Viroli, Alessandro Ricci

Coordination is a fundamental problem in the
engineering of collective adaptive systems (CAS). Prominent
approaches in this context promote adaptivity and collective
behaviour by founding coordination on local, decentralised in-
teraction. This is usually enabled through abstractions such as
collective interfaces, neighbour-based interaction, and attribute-
based communication. Application designers, then, use such
coordination mechanisms to enact collective adaptive behaviour
in order to solve specific problems or provide specific services
while coping with dynamic environments. In this paper, we
consider the other way round: we argue that a CAS model can
be used to provide support for high-level coordination models,
simplifying their implementation and transferring to them the
self-* properties it emergently fosters. As a motivating example,
we consider the idea of supporting tuple-based coordination by
Linda primitives such that tuples and operations have a position
and extension in space and time. Then, we adopt an aggregate
perspective, by which space-time is logically represented by a
mobile ad-hoc network of devices, and show that coordination
primitives can be implemented as true collective adaptive pro-
cesses. We describe this model and a prototype implementation
in the ScaFi aggregate programming framework, which is rooted
in the so-called computational field paradigm.

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