CAS research at ICAC 2015

ICAC 2015

The Distributed Adaptive Systems workshop was held at the 12th IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing in Grenoble, France, on July 7 2015.

The workshop was organized by people from FoCAS, in particular Giacomo Cabri (research agenda WP leader) and Antonio Bucchiarone (ALLOW Ensemble project).

ICAC 2015

Topics at the workshop were related to the Collective Adaptive Systems, and the workshop was a source for building the research agenda of FoCAS. 4 papers were accepted and around 20 people attended what became a very interactive workshop.

ICAC 2015

Moreover, FoCAS sponsored the keynote talk by Tarek Abdelzaher on 8 July. The title of the talk was “The Social Frontier for Autonomic Systems”; an interview to Tarek is available in the video opinion section of the FoCAS website (

ICAC 2015

Finally, FoCAS executive member Jeremy Pitt gave an invited talk at ICAC on 9 July, entitled “Governance, Justice and Paradox in Self-Organising Rule-Oriented Systems”.

CAS research will be evident at ICAC, the 12th IEEE International Conference on Autonomic Computing being held in Grenoble, France from 7-10 July.

FoCAS are sponsoring the keynote talk by Tarek Abdelzaher on 8 July and FoCAS member Jeremy Pitt has also been invited to address ICAC on 9 July.

In addition, a workshop organised by Allow Ensembles in conjunction with FoCAS on Distributed Adaptive Systems will be held on 7 July and the following papers have been accepted:

  • Thomas Preisler, Tim Dethlefs and Wolfgang Renz. Middleware for Constructing Decentralized Control in Self-Organizing Systems
  • Kaoutar Hafdi and Abdelaziz Kriouile. Designing ReDy Distributed Systems
  • Jingtao Sun and Ichiro Satoh. Distributed Adaptation through Software Component Relocation
  • Claudia Raibulet and Andrea Zaccara. Adaptive Resource Management in the Cloud

Details of the invited keynotes:

Tarek Abdelzaher:
The Social Frontier for Autonomic Systems – Wednesday, July 8, 2015 from 09:00 to 10:00

Autonomic systems are distinguished by properties that allow them to respond and adapt successfully to environmental changes. A key property in that space is the ability to monitor and understand their environment, as monitoring is a prerequisite to adaptation. For example, significant investments have been made in data centers to enhance monitoring capabilities. Future autonomic systems, however, will grow beyond data centers and control applications into the societal application arena. Autonomic technology will support smarter social systems such disaster response, national security, vehicular transportation, and residential energy optimization, where the main components of the system being optimized are human, not digital. Indeed humans are the disaster survivors, the first responders, the eye-witnesses, the drivers, and the consumers in these systems. They observe key elements of system state. What would the monitoring subsystem look like in autonomic systems that serve such societal applications? Unlike machines that report their performance, humans have privacy concerns, are not easily retrofitted with sensors, and are generally not reliable as information sources. This talk explores the utility of information distillation from social networks as de facto “APIs” into human systems that voluntarily share information of use by autonomic applications in the societal space. Experiences with early prototypes of monitoring tools built on Twitter are reported in contexts that range from civil unrest to traffic monitoring. Questions such as ascertaining reliability of incoming data are addressed. Future challenges and research questions are discussed that suggest a new autonomic computing research agenda for the social frontier.

Tarek Abdelzaher

Tarek Abdelzaher received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, in 1990 and 1994 respectively. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1999 on Quality of Service Adaptation in Real-Time Systems. He has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia, where he founded the Software Predictability Group. He is currently a Professor and Willett Faculty Scholar at the Department of Computer Science, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He has authored/coauthored more than 170 refereed publications in real-time computing, distributed systems, sensor networks, and control. He is an Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Real-Time Systems, and has served as Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Embedded Systems Letters, the ACM Transaction on Sensor Networks, and the Ad Hoc Networks Journal. He chaired (as Program or General Chair) several conferences in his area including RTAS, RTSS, IPSN, Sensys, DCoSS, ICDCS, and ICAC. Abdelzaher’s research interests lie broadly in understanding and influencing performance and temporal properties of networked embedded, social and software systems in the face of increasing complexity, distribution, and degree of interaction with an external physical environment. Tarek Abdelzaher is a recipient of the IEEE Outstanding Technical Achievement and Leadership Award in Real-time Systems (2012), the Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2011), as well as several best paper awards. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.

Jeremy Pitt:
Governance, Justice and Paradox in Self-Organising Rule-Oriented Systems – Thursday, July 9, 2015 from 09:00 to 10:00

Many open computing systems — for example grid or cloud computing, sensor or vehicular networks, and virtual organisations — face a similar problem: how to collectivise resources, and distribute them fairly, in the absence of a centralized component. One approach is to define a set of conventional, mutually-agreed and mutable rules — i.e., a self-organising rule-oriented system in which rules are explicit, ‘first class’ entities, typically characterised by an institution. In this talk, we present a formal model of Ostrom’s institutional design principles, and a formal model of Rescher’s theory of distributive justice, as a basis for inclusive (self-)governance for fair and sustainable allocation of common-pool resources, using a type of self-organising rule-oriented system referred to as an electronic institution. However, while this provides a computational framework for a programme of research called computational justice (capturing certain notions of ‘correctness’ in the outcomes of algorithmic decision-making for ‘pro-social’ self-governance), there is an argument that any system which admits unrestricted self-modification of its rules will tend to paradox, incompleteness or inconsistency. We conclude the talk with a discussion of the need for some form of ‘attention’ or ‘awareness’ to avoid unexpected or undesirable consequences of unrestricted self-organisation of rules.

Jeremy Pitt

Jeremy Pitt is Reader in Intelligent Systems in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London, where he is also Deputy Head of the Intelligent Systems & Networks Group.
His research interests focus on developing formal models of social processes using computational logic, and their application to self-organising and multi-agent systems, for example in agent societies, agent communication languages, and electronic institutions. He also has an strong interest in the social impact of technology, and has edited two recent books, This Pervasive Day (IC Press, 2012) and The Computer After Me (IC Press, 2014). He has been an investigator on more than 30 national and European research projects and has published more than 150 articles in journals and conferences. He is a Senior Member of the ACM, a Fellow of the BCS, and a Fellow of the IET; he is also an Associate Editor of ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems and an Associate Editor of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.