Mobile, Distributed & Networked Systems

The participants in this theme have a strong track record in the key areas of mobile applications, distributed systems and networks for extreme environments, with a natural and growing convergence between these areas.

In mobile systems, the group has a worldwide reputation in supporting mobile users. Its expertise ranges from data communications networks and mobile telecommunications infrastructures through wireless peer-to-peer networks to software provision for harnessing contextual information in mobile computing that provide a foundation for information retrieval in mobile scenarios. The group has a strong focus on user groups including a background in network access and use for older people and people with disabilities, with applications in remote learning, lifestyle modelling and inter-personal multimedia communication.

In distributed systems, the group has an internationally leading track record in both the formal theoretical specification of agent networks, and their practical application to new problems. From nonclassical modal logics for handling and reasoning about action and change in complex agent societies, to semantics for inter-agent communication protocols and argumentation structures, the theoretical base is broad and sound. That base has supported successful practical applications in diverse domains including models of federation and communication for information sharing and exchange, implementations of virtual organisations in Web and Grid contexts, and e-commerce applications (such as auction houses).

In networked systems, the group has global standing in its design and hardware implementation of network components and protocols that support robust communication in extreme environments. A particular strength is in systems for space craft, and its SpaceWire international standard has not only been adopted as a defining mechanism for communication between onboard components, but has also been deployed on many ESA, NASA, JAXA and commercial space missions.

The group also boasts two successful spinout companies that bridge the three areas. The first is Calico Jack Ltd., which provides multi-agent solutions to telecommunications operators including Orange, France Telecom and most recently, Wanadoo. The company values its interactions with academia, freely licensing a version of its platform for academic use (which has been employed in projects at both Aberdeen and Dundee), contributing to the EU Network of Excellence in Agent Based Computing, and providing a host environment for student placements and PhD work. The second is STAR-Dundee, which provides development and test equipment for organisations developing spacecraft using SpaceWire technology. It too retains strong links with academia, both in its design cycle and its international customer base.

Girl using laptop

Patrik Holt, RGU

Deputy Directors
Manuel Trucco, UoD

Tim Norman, UoA