Section: New Results
Non-self-stabilizing and self-stabilizing gathering in networks of mobile agents–the notion of speed
Participants : Joffroy Beauquier, Janna Burman, Julien Clément, Shay Kutten.
In the population protocol model, each agent is represented by a finite state machine. Agents are anonymous and supposed to move in an asynchronous way. When two agents come into range of each other (“meet”), they can exchange information. One of the vast variety of motivating examples to the population protocols model is ZebraNet. ZebraNet is a habitat monitoring application where sensors are attached to zebras and collect biometric data (e.g. heart rate, body temperature) and information about their behavior and migration patterns (via GPS). The population protocol model is, in some sense, related to cloud computing and to networks characterized by asynchrony,large scale, the possibility of failures, in the agents as well as in the communications, with the constraint that each agent is resource limited.
In order to extend the computation power and efficiency of the population protocol model, various extensions were suggested. Our contribution is an extension of the population protocol model that introduces the notion of “speed”, in order to capture the fact that the mobile agents move at different speeds and/or have different communication ranges and/or move according to different patterns and/or visit different places with different frequencies. Intuitively, fast agents which carry sensors with big communication ranges communicate with other agents more frequently than other agents do. This notion is formalized by allocating a cover time, cv, to each mobile agent v. cv is the minimum number of events in the whole system that occur before agent v meets every other agent at least once. As a fundamental example, we have considered the basic problem of gathering information that is distributed among anonymous mobile agents and where the number of agents is unknown. Each mobile agent owns a sensed input value and the goal is to communicate the values (as a multi-set, one value per mobile agent) to a fixed non-mobile base station (BS), with no duplicates or losses.
Gathering is a building block for many monitoring applications in networks of mobile agents. For example, a solution to this problem can solve a transaction commit/abort task in MANETs, if the input values of agents are votes (and the number of agents is known to BS). Moreover, the gathering problem can be viewed as a formulation of the routing problem in Disruption Tolerant Networks.
We gave different solutions to the gathering in the model of mobile agents with speed and we proved that one of them is optimal.