António Casimiro

An Architectural Framework and a Middleware for Cooperating Smart Components

António Casimiro, Jörg Kaiser and Paulo Veríssimo

Proceedings of the First Conference on Computing Frontiers, Ischia, Italy, April 2004


In a future networked physical world, a myriad of smart sensors and actuators assess and control aspects of their environments and autonomously act in response to it. Examples range in telematics, traffic management, team robotics or home automation to name a few. To a large extent, such systems operate proactively and independently of direct human control driven by the perception of the environment and the ability to organize respective computations dynamically. The challenging characteristics of these applications include sentience and autonomy of components, issues of responsiveness and safety criticality, geographical dispersion, mobility and evolution. A crucial design decision is the choice of the appropriate abstractions and interaction mechanisms. Looking to the basic building blocks of such systems we may find components which comprise mechanical components, hardware and software and a network interface, thus these components have different characteristics compared to pure software components. They are able to spontaneously disseminate information in response to events observed in the physical environment or to events received from other component via the network interface. Larger autonomous components may be composed recursively from these building blocks.
The paper describes an architectural framework and a middleware supporting a component-based system and an integrated view on events-based communication comprising the real world events and the events generated in the system. It starts by an outline of the component-based system construction. The generic event architecture GEAR is introduced which describes the event-based interaction between the components via a generic event layer. The generic event layer hides the different communication channels including the interactions through the environment. An appropriate middleware is presented which reflects these needs and allows to specify events which have quality attributes to express temporal constraints. This is complemented by the notion of event channels which are abstractions of the underlying network and allow to enforce quality attributes. They are established prior to interaction to reserve the needed computational and network resources for highly predictable event dissemination.


  author       = "Casimiro, A. and Kaiser, J. and Ver\'{\i}ssimo, P.",
  title        = "An Architectural Framework and a Middleware for Cooperating Smart Components",
  booktitle    = "Proceedings of the First Conference on Computing Frontiers",
  year         = "2004",
  abstractURL  = "",
  documentURL  = "",
  pages        = "28--39",
  publisher    = "ACM",
  address      = "Ischia, Italy",
  month        = apr


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