Talk: "The Fundamental Question in Distributed Systems Research"

Time: Friday, May 11th 2007, 16.00
Location: C 110, Building S2/02 (Hochschulstr. 10)
Speaker: Mani Chandy, Computer Science Department, California Institute of Technology
Topic: The Fundamental Question in Distributed Systems Research
Abstract: The fundamental question is: What actions based on local information guarantee desired global behavior?

Examples of distributed systems include ants building colonies, teams of robots rescuing people and first responders dealing with disasters. Consider robots building a structure in a hostile environment; each robot does not know whether other robots exist, nor does it know the global state of the environment. Further, the environment's state may change due to natural causes such as levees breaking or due to hostile acts by adversaries. What structures can be built by each agent making local decisions without awareness of what other agents (if any) are doing? What structures cannot be built this way?

What problems can be solved when dynamics of agents are specified by differential equations and communication between agents is by continuous analog signals, or when agents take discrete actions and communication is through messages?

What algorithms are superior in static environments? What algorithms are better for rapidly evolving situations? What is the quantitative benefit of one kind of environment over another? What has been proved so far and what is conjecture?

This talk discusses questions, some answers, and suggests open problems for collaborative research across fields of information science and technology.


Die Dozenten der Informatik

Organisation: Prof. Alejandro Buchmann