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CORTEX: COoperating Real-time senTient objects: architecture and EXperimental evaluation

Objective

The CORTEX project will investigate architectures for the ubiquitous, decentralised, and proactive mission-critical computer systems of the future. The project results will enable new applications in key areas such as intelligent vehicles and robots, traffic and telecommunications management, process control and C3. The CORTEX approach is based on the sentient object concept: mobile intelligent software components that sense the environment, and discover and interact with each other and with the environment. Sentient objects demand predictable and guaranteed quality of service (QoS) in the timeliness and reliability domains. CORTEX will: design a programming model supporting incremental real-time and reliability guarantees; design an abstract network model handling heterogeneity and hierarchy of networks; develop protocols and services to support sentient objects; evaluate the results by demonstration.

OBJECTIVES
We are now at the point where the emergence of a new class of applications that operate independently of direct human control can be envisaged. Future mission-critical computer systems will be comprised of networked components that will act autonomously in responding to a myriad of inputs to affect and control the surrounding environment. Key characteristics of these applications include sentience, autonomy, large scale, time and safety criticality, geographical dispersion, mobility and evolution. The key objective of CORTEX is to explore the fundamental theoretical and engineering issues necessary to support the use of sentient objects to construct large-scale proactive applications and thereby to validate the use of sentient objects as a viable approach to the construction of such applications.

DESCRIPTION OF WORK
CORTEX will:
- Design a programming model that supports the development of applications constructed from mobile sentient objects including:
a) development of an appropriate object model and communication paradigm that will build on recent results concerning large-scale communication support by exploiting paradigms like zoning and topology awareness to allow the heterogeneity of the underlying infrastructure to be accomodated while allowing reliable communication and consensus to be achieved;
b) development of means to express QoS properties in the model, where QoS is taken as a metric of predictability in terms of timeliness and reliability;
c) development of a global model for QoS assurance.
Design an interaction model for co-operating sentient objects. This model will centre around an anonymouns generative communication abstraction reflecting the needs of an event-based computational model including object autonomy and system evolution.
Design an open, scalable system architecture that reflects the heterogeneous structure and performance of the networks used to support the programming model.

This will entail:
a) develop abstract network models to describe the properties of underlying networks;
b) recognising the hierarchical structure of the network topology, by considering the underlying network infrastructure as a WAN-of-CANs;
c) develop the protocols and services required to support the desired functional and non-functional properties of sentient objects.
Develop one or more demonstrators to allow the technology to be assessed.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

FUNDACAO DA FACULDADE DE CIENCIAS DA UNIVERSIDADE DE LISBOA
Address
Campo Grande, Ed. C5
1749-016 Lisboa
Portugal

Participants (3)

THE PROVOST FELLOWS AND SCHOLARS OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY AND UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN
Ireland
Address
College Green
2 Dublin
THE UNIVERSITY OF LANCASTER
United Kingdom
Address
Bailrigg
LA1 4YR Lancaster
UNIVERSITAET ULM
Germany
Address
Gruener Hof 5C
89073 Ulm