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Section: Research Program

Design and programming for autonomic computing

Reactive programming

Autonomic systems are intrinsically reconfigurable. To describe, specify or design these systems, there is a need to take into account this reconfigurability, within the programming languages used. We propose to consider the reconfigurability of systems from the angle of two properties: the notion of time, as we want to describe the state and behavior of the system before, and after its reconfiguration; the notion of dynamicity of the system, i.e., considering that the system's possible behaviors throughout execution are not completely known, neither at design-time nor at initial execution state. To describe and design such reactive systems, we propose to use the synchronous paradigm. It has been successfully used, in industry, for the design of embedded systems. It allows the description of behaviors based on a specific model of time (discrete time scale, synchronous parallel composition), providing properties which are important w.r.t. the safety of the described system: reactivity, determinism, preservation of safety properties by parallel composition (with other parts of the system or with its environment). Models and languages for control, proposed in this framework, provide designers, experts of the application domain, with a user-friendly access to highly technical formal methods of DCS, by encapsulating them in the compilation of concrete programming languages, generating concrete executable code. They are based on discrete models, but also support programming of sampled continuous controllers.

Component-based approach and domain-specific languages

For integration of the previous control kernels into wider frameworks of reconfigurable systems, they have to be integrated in a design flow, and connected on the one side with higher-level specification languages (with help of DSLs), and on the other side with the generated code level target execution machines. This calls for the adoption of a component-based approach with necessary features, available typically in Fractal, for explicitly identifying the control interfaces and mechanisms.

Structuring and instrumentation for controllability will involve encapsulation of computations into components, specification of their local control (activation, reconfiguration, suspension, termination), and exporting appropriate interfaces (including behavior abstraction). Modeling the configurations space requires determining the controlled aspects (e.g., heterogenous CPUs loads, fault-tolerance and variability, memory, energy/power consumption, communication/bandwidth, QoS level) and their control points, as well as APIs for monitors and actions. Compilation and execution will integrate this in a complete design flow involving : extraction of a reactive model from components; instrumentation of execution platforms to be controllable; combination with other controllers; general "glue" and wrapper code.

Integration of reactive languages and control techniques in component-based systems brings interesting questions of co-existence w.r.t. other approaches like Event-Condition-Action (ECA) rules, or Complex Event Processing (CPE).