Component-ware for Autonomic Situation-aware Communications, and Dynamically Adaptable Services
We are witnessing an age of computing ubiquity where our work and home environments are increasingly enveloped by computing and communication resources. However, exploiting such distributed resources to provide meaningful, useful, and usable communication services actually comes at high development and maintenance costs. In addition, while the full potential of such resources is far to be fully exploited, the services provided within them are not flexible and far to be fully satisfying to users.
CASCADAS is a three-year integrated project aimed at providing the technology and the mechanisms that can address these complex problems. The central objective is to identify, develop, and evaluate, a generalpurpose abstraction and the associated tools for the development of autonomic and situation-aware communication services. The key idea is to identify and rely on a new model of distributed components (called ACEs, Autonomic Communication Elements), able to autonomously self-organize with each other towards the provisioning of specific user communication services, and able to self-adapt such provisioning to social and network contexts. These features are likely to dramatically reduce the costs associated to the development and configuration of complex communication services, to leverage the exploitation of distributed computing and communication resources, and to make services more usable and more fitted to user needs.
From the scientific viewpoint, CASCADAS will be inspired by four key scientific principles that should characterize any complex network systems: situation-awareness, semantic self-organization, self-similarity, and autonomic component-ware. From the technological viewpoint, CASCADAS will approach the problem by conceiving ACEs as sorts of application-level overlay networks of service components, supported in the execution by ACE-based middle-level tools able to enforce in an autonomic way features such as security, self-supervision, self-survivability, knowledge-based self-adaptation.
The most important result of the project will be an Open Source toolkit with a set of well-integrated abstractions, algorithms, tools, and application demonstrations.
CASCADAS is highly relevant to the two main objectives of this call: it precisely aims at defining 'a self-organizing communication network concept' (yet at higher-levels than the networking ones); and it will also 'study how strategic needs impact on future communication paradigms'. Also, CASCADAS is proactive in seeking to carry out research encompassing security, resilience, and the interaction with new paradigms on society, which are all key focuses of the call.
Security, Survivability and Self-Preservation in Autonomic Communication Systems
We will design the overall security framework for Autonomic Communication Elements (ACEs) communities and provide basic security services such as authentication, identity management, ensuring message integrity in the network through digital signatures and credential management. These security services will be implemented starting from widely accepted state-of-the-art solution and will be evolved as needed to comply with the requirements of the ACE component model. We will focus on modelling a system composed of ACEs treating them as autonomic "rational" users. We use game theory as a tool to model the system in economic terms and mechanism design to modify it. This task will also consider the impact of emergent network topologies on the system model. We will deal with self-management and self-preservation of existing services and dynamic coalitions of users and to evolve new services from existing components. The task will define the policies that service and trust negotiation between the ACEs will be based on for controlling access of users to services in a flexible way and for assuring symmetric treatment between entities through trust negotiation. We will also determine long-term digital reputation schemes for users and services and fast reactive schemes for prompt reaction to faults or attacks.
Application and Socio-Economic Analysis & Evaluation
It is responsibility of this task the implementation of the final demonstrator of the most suited application scenario. We will study how strategic, market, social, and business needs impact upon Autonomic Communication, and how CASCADAS outputs can support the business life cycle, enabling a service oriented, requirement and trust driven development of Autonomic Communication applications. We will construct a mathematical model based on a stochastic representation, in order to capture temporal system behaviour and resource utilisation, at level of abstraction relying upon the ACE model. Interesting QoS and performance trade-offs will be investigated between communication bandwidth, system extent software complexity (in terms of levels of number of ACEs and inter-ACE invocation and connectivity), and control system complexity in terms of the decision making algorithms (e.g. local or global). With respect to decision algorithms, we will investigate exact mathematical formulations of criteria to be optimised and study local (e.g. gradient based, GA based, neural network based) approximations. These will be compared with other biologically inspired heuristics proposed in CASCADAS using both analytical models and experimental measurements the test-bed. We will experimentally evaluate the different distributed autonomic algorithms for services and resources that will be proposed in the CASCADAS project. For that purpose, we will design, develop, set-up, and maintain a distributed testbed.
Dissemination & Exploitation
In this task we will assure that the results of the project will be disseminated to the scientific community, to Industry and, to the possible extent, to the general public. We will define and execute the dissemination and exploitation strategies of the consortium. For a continuous dissemination of the CASCADAS objectives and achievements, a project web site will be set-up at the very beginning of the project including both material suitable to the scientific community and material suitable to the Industry and the general public. A second task will be the Open-source reference implementation of CASCADAS software assets, in the form of the CASCADAS Toolkit for situated and autonomic communication-intensive service
This task is devoted to the training activities that will be undertaken by the CASCADAS project to train a new generation of researchers in the area of situated and autonomic communications in general and the CASCADAS project in particular.
Project Management will ensure the overall management of the work undertaken in CASCADAS. Progress of the work will be monitored against the milestones and the objectives defined in the project programme, as well as the CASCADAS Quality Plan.