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Toward deeply adaptive societies of digital systems

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Carzaniga A., Denaro G., Pezzè M., Estublier J., Wolf A.
Article in conference proceedings
Modern societies are pervaded by computerized, heterogeneous devices designed for specific purposes, but also more and more often capable of interacting with other devices for entirely different purposes. For example, a cell phone could be used to purchase a train ticket on-line that could later be printed by a vending machine at the train station. This type of open environment is what we call a society of digital systems. In this paper, we outline the characteristics of societies of digital systems, and argue that they call for a new approach to cope with unforeseen interactions, possible incompatibilities, failures, and emergent behaviors. We argue that designers can not assume a closed or homogeneous world, and must instead naturally accommodate dynamic adaptations. Furthermore, self-adaptability, that is, the ability to adapt autonomically to a changing environment, also poses problems, as different adaptation strategies may interfere negatively, leading to unstable behaviors. As an initial concrete contribution to solve this problem, we propose a method to support the graceful integration of devices and software systems in an open environment. The method uses management information, and is specifically centered on the idea of expressing self-adaptation operations as change sets over the management information base.
Conference proceedings
Software Engineering - Companion Volume, 2009. ICSE-Companion 2009. 31st International Conference on
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Application software, cell phone, Cellular phones, Collaborative software, Computer networks, deeply adaptive society, digital system, Digital systems, Educational institutions, ergonomics, Humans, Information management, management information base, self-adaptability, self-adaptation operation, software system, software systems, train station, train ticket online, Vehicle dynamics, vending machine