Autonomic and adaptive systems

Auto­nomic com­put­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tions is inten­ded to increase the use of tech­no­logy in the man­age­ment of com­plex tech­no­lo­gical sys­tems. The chal­lenge of man­aging mod­ern com­put­ing sys­tems and net­works effi­ciently is already some­what bey­ond the abil­ity of human oper­at­ors, not least because the times­cales for decision-making are so short. Auto­nomic tech­niques bor­row from phys­ics, bio­logy and other dis­cip­lines to allow improved self-management, self-diagnosis, self-healing and so on — the so-called self-* prop­er­ties.

Our work in auto­nomic sys­tems has dealt mainly with the sta­bil­ity of sys­tems under adapt­a­tion: can we be con­vinced that a sys­tem will adapt both appro­pri­ate in terms of the situ­ation it is in, and also remain “cor­rect” in the sense of meet­ing its func­tional require­ments? We have addressed this as a sys­tems level in terms of archi­tec­ture and ana­lysis, and also at a more detailed level in terms of man­aging resources in data centres and provid­ing cross-layer optim­isa­tion within com­mu­nic­a­tions pro­tocol stacks.

Auto­nomic sys­tems still lack a sys­tems the­ory that would allow us to model and design adapt­ive sys­tems effect­ively. A future goal of our work is to con­trib­ute to such a the­ory, draw­ing on our work in situ­ation iden­ti­fic­a­tion to ensure that the adapt­a­tions that occur are appro­pri­ate for the par­tic­u­lar situ­ation and con­sist­ent with past and future behaviour.

Selec­ted publications

Sys­tems ana­lysis and design

Simon Dob­son, Roy Ster­ritt, Paddy Nixon and Mike Hinchey. Ful­filling the vis­ion of auto­nomic com­put­ing. IEEE Com­puter 43(1), pages 35–41. Janu­ary 2010.

John Strassner, Sven van der Meer, Declan O’Sullivan and Simon Dob­son. The use of context-aware policies and onto­lo­gies to facil­it­ate business-aware net­work man­age­ment. Journal of Net­work and Sys­tems Man­age­ment 17(3), pages 255–284. Septem­ber 2009.

Simon Dob­son, Lor­can Coyle, G.M.P. O’Hare and Mike Hinchey. From phys­ical mod­els to well-founded con­trol. In Pro­ceed­ings of the 6th IEEE Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence and Work­shops on Engin­eer­ing of Auto­nomic and Autonom­ous Sys­tems. IEEE Press. San Fran­cisco, CA. 2009.

Simon Dob­son. An adapt­ive sys­tems per­spect­ive on net­work cal­cu­lus, with applic­a­tions to auto­nomic con­trol. Inter­na­tional Journal of Autonom­ous and Adapt­ive Com­mu­nic­a­tions Sys­tems 1(3), pages 332–341. 2008.

Simon Dob­son, Spyros Denazis, Ant­o­nio Fernán­dez, Domi­n­ique Gaïti, Erol Gelenbe, Fabio Mas­sacci, Paddy Nixon, Fabrice Saf­fre, Nikita Schmidt and Franco Zam­bon­elli. A sur­vey of auto­nomic com­mu­nic­a­tions. ACM Trans­ac­tions on Autonom­ous and Adapt­ive Sys­tems 1(2), pages 223–259. Decem­ber 2006.

Cross-layer adapt­ive networking

M.A. Razzaque and Simon Dob­son. Enhance­ment of self-organisation in wire­less net­work­ing through a cross-layer approach. In Pro­ceed­ings of the 1st Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Ad Hoc Net­works. Niagara Falls, CA. 2009.

M.A. Razzaque, Simon Dob­son and Paddy Nixon. Cross-layer self rout­ing: a self-managed rout­ing approach for MANETs. In Pro­ced­ings of the 4th IEEE Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Wire­less and Mobile Com­put­ing, Net­work­ing and Com­mu­nic­a­tions. IEEE Press. Avignon, FR. 2008.

M.A. Razzaque, Simon Dob­son and Paddy Nixon. Cross-layer optim­isa­tions for auto­nomic net­works. In Advanced auto­nomic net­work­ing and com­mu­nic­a­tion, pages 127–148. Monique Cal­isti, Sven van der Meer and John Strassner (ed). Birkhäuser Whi­testein series. Springer Ver­lag. 2008. ISBN 978−3−7643−8568−2.

Joëlle Coutaz, James Crow­ley, Simon Dob­son and David Gar­lan. Con­text is key. Com­mu­nic­a­tions of the ACM 48(3), pages 49–53. March 2005.

Resource man­age­ment

Emer­son Loureiro, Paddy Nixon and Simon Dob­son. Adapt­ive man­age­ment of shared resource pools with decent­ral­ized optim­iz­a­tion and epi­dem­ics. In Pro­ceed­ings of the 18th Eur­omicro Con­fer­ence on Par­al­lel, Dis­trib­uted and Network-based Pro­cessing, pages 51–58. Marco Dane­lutto, Julien Bour­geois and Tom Gross (ed). IEEE Com­puter Soci­ety Press. Pisa, IT. Feb­ru­ary 2010.

Emer­son Loureiro, Paddy Nixon and Simon Dob­son. Decent­ral­ized util­ity max­im­iz­a­tion for adapt­ive man­age­ment of shared resource Pools. In Pro­ceed­ings of the Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gent Net­work­ing and Col­lab­or­at­ive Sys­tems (INCoS’09). IEEE Com­puter Soci­ety. Bar­celona, ES. 2009.

Emer­son Loureiro, Paddy Nixon and Simon Dob­son. A fine-grained model for adapt­ive on-demand pro­vi­sion­ing of CPU shares in data centres. In Self-organizing sys­tems, pages 97–108. Karin Anna Hum­mel and James Ster­benz (ed). Volume 5343 of LNCS. Springer Ver­lag. Vienna, AT. Decem­ber 2008.