Federating Policy-Driven Autonomous Systems: Interaction Specification and Management Patterns

Ubiquitous systems and applications involve interactions between multiple autonomous entities—for example, robots in a mobile ad-hoc network collaborating to achieve a goal, communications between teams of emergency workers involved in disaster relief operations or interactions between patients’ and healthcare workers’ mobile devices. We have previously proposed the Self-Managed Cell (SMC) as an architectural pattern for managing autonomous ubiquitous systems that comprise both hardware and software components and that implement policy-based adaptation strategies. We have also shown how basic management interactions between autonomous SMCs can be realised through exchanges of notifications and policies, to effectively program management and context-aware adaptations. We present here how autonomous SMCs can be composed and federated into complex structures through the systematic composition of interaction patterns. By composing simpler abstractions as building blocks of more complex interactions it is possible to leverage commonalities across the structural, control and communication views to manage a broad variety of composite autonomous systems including peer-to-peer collaborations, federations and aggregations with varying degrees of devolution of control. Although the approach is more broadly applicable, we focus on systems where declarative policies are used to specify adaptation and on context-aware ubiquitous systems that present some degree of autonomy in the physical world, such as body sensor networks and autonomous vehicles. Finally, we present a formalisation of our model that allows a rigorous verification of the properties satisfied by the SMC interactions before policies are deployed in physical devices.

Schaeffer-Filho, Alberto and Lupu, Emil and Sloman, Morris. Federating Policy-Driven Autonomous Systems: Interaction Specification and Management Patterns, Journal of Network and Systems Management, Springer, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10922-014-9317-5