News

COOJA and Testbed Federation/TWIST growing together

Two COOJA plugins and manuals have been published to integrate the TWIST testbed in COOJA and to take checkpoints and perform rollbacks both in TWIST and COOJA.


Call for Papers: CONET/UBICITEC 2013

The 4th International Workshop on Networks of Cooperating Objects for Smart Cities 2013 (CONET/UBICITEC 2013), colocated with CPSWeek 2013, accepts submissions until January 28th, 2013.


Newsletter issue #19

The 19th CONET newsletter has been published. You can read on Virtual Organizations for Multi-Model Based Embedded Systems and on the UvA Bird Tracking System.


Current Page: AboutBackground

Concept and Project Vision

There is a number of different system concepts that have gained a lot of relevance in the area of embedded systems over the past couple of years. First, there is the classic concept of embedded systems where the focus is on control systems for physical processes (machinery, automobiles, UAVs, planes, etc.). Secondly, the notion of pervasive computing (also called ubiquitous computing) has evolved, where the vision, first stated by Mark Weiser in his seminal paper from 1991, foresees everyday objects having some form of computation capacity and, in most cases, sensing and communication facilities. Thirdly, the notion of wireless sensor networks has arisen, where small computing devices (sensor nodes) are able to sense their environment and cooperate in order to achieve a well-defined goal.

 

We claim that these three types of quite diverse systems share a lot of commonalities on the one hand and, on the other hand, have some complementary aspects in common that make a combination of these systems into a coherent system vision promising. In particular, the important notions of control, heterogeneity, wireless communication, dynamic and ad-hoc nature and cost are prevalent to various degrees in each of these systems.

 

A future system concept needs to combine the strong points of all three system concepts in at least these functional aspects. It has to provide support for the control of physical processes like today’s embedded systems do, have as good support for device heterogeneity and spontaneity of usage as required by pervasive and ubiquitous computing approaches, and has to be as cost efficient and wirelessly agile as wireless sensor networks are. These new systems consist, therefore, of individual entities or objects that jointly strive to reach a common goal, which will typically be a goal in sensing or control, and are dynamically and loosely federating themselves for cooperation, taking care not to overtax their available resources.

 

Definition: Cooperating Object

The term "Cooperating Objects" was coined explicitly for the purpose of describing such systems by the 12 members of the Embedded WiSeNts Consortium, a Coordination Action funded by the EC between September 1st, 2004 and December 31st, 2006 as part of the 6th Framework Programme. However, during the work in CONET the definition has changed slightly and is now given in the second update of the CONET research roadmap:

"Cooperating Objects consist of embedded computing devices equipped with communication as well as sensing or actuation capabilities that are able to cooperate and organize themselves autonomously into networks to achieve a common task. The vision of Cooperating Objects is to tackle the emerging complexity by cooperation and modularity. Towards this vision, the ability to communicate and interact with other objects and/or the environment is a major prerequisite. While in many cases cooperation is application specific, cooperation among heterogeneous devices can be supported by shared abstractions.

 

According to this definition, computing devices are the core of Cooperating Objects. They interact with their environment either by monitoring it (sensors) or by changing it (actuators), they process the data and communicate to others. For performing their tasks Cooperating Objects can be equipped with other devices, e.g. storage.

 

The general idea of Cooperating Objects is to have several specialized and, thus, heterogeneous devices that can perform parts of a task in an efficient way. This modularization helps to keep the single devices simple and maintainable. The overall goal of a Cooperating Object is reached by cooperation of these devices. It seems clear that for this interaction with each other in a distributed environment, all of them need to be equipped with communication capabilities that can be based on wired or wireless technology."

 

From this definition, it is apparent that this new vision is more powerful and has a larger scope than each of the individual system concepts out of which it evolved.

 

The vision of Cooperating Objects is, therefore, quite new and needs to be understood in more detail and probably extended with inputs from the relevant individual communities that compose it. This will enable us to better understand the impact on the research landscape and to steer the available resources in a meaningful way.