The Computational Commons

The basic notion of a computer has changed from one massive immobile monolithic box the size of a house, to collective adaptive systems, built from hundreds or thousands of devices, from tiny sensors to warehouse-sized computers, constantly in motion, constantly in flux. Many of these collective adaptive systems have one distinguishing feature: they require the components to collectivise their resources in order to satisfy individual and group goals. In other words, they have a problem of common-pool resource management: who gets allocated how much, and when, and in particular, how is the allocation is to be made fair and sustainable. Political scientist, economist and Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom pioneered a theory of self-governing institutions that communities of people have used to manage waterways, fisheries and forestries. In this work, our goal is two-fold: firstly to specify a computational instantiation of Ostrom's theory for collective adaptive systems comprising only computing components, and secondly to transfer that instantiation to socio-technical systems comprising human and computing components, for example as the basis for fair and sustainable resource allocation in Smart Cities.



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Professor Jeremy Pitt is Reader in Intelligent Systems and Deputy Head of the Intelligent Systems & Networks Group in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London. His primary research interest is in the science, technology and application of Multi-Agent Systems, especially in communications. Additional interests are in Affective Computing and Computer-Mediated Communication.
He supports Brentford F.C.