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6th International Workshop on Distributed Computing
(IWDC 2004)

27-30 December, 2004

Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata


Tutorial Abstracts


Resilient Mesh Networks

Prof. Biswanath Mukherjee

This tutorial will focus on the design and analysis of resilient mesh networks, which can recover quickly and efficiently from failures and attacks. Some specific applications include provisioning of restorable bandwidth-guaranteed tunnels in MPLS networks, IP flows, and lightpaths in optical networks. For more information, please see the table of contents.

Table of contents:

  • Protection: link vs. path vs. sub-path
  • Protection: dedicated vs. shared
  • Protection: one-step vs. two-step
  • Restoration: link vs. path vs. sub-path
  • Traffic engineering vs. network engineering vs. network planning
  • Availability-aware provisioning
  • Detailed link model: Link and resource availability (LRA)
  • Backup reprovisioning
  • Sub-path protection
  • Differentiated Quality of Protection (QoP)
  • Survivable traffic grooming
  • Survivable Virtual Concatenation (VC) (Survivable data-over-SONET/SDH)

Intended audience:

Researchers (professors, postdocs, PhD students, etc.) as well as industry practitioners who are designing, analyzing, and researching, survivable network architectures, or who wish to learn more about this important subject.

Advances and Challenges in Wireless and Sensor Networks

Dr. Archan Misra

There are two distinct and exciting trends in the area of wireless networking. The first revolves around the shift from single-hop wireless LANs towards a paradigm of multi-hop all-wireless networks, where the forwarding path consists of multiple forwarding nodes forming a wireless mesh. The second revolves around the vision of wireless sensor networks, where relatively resource-constrained devices are deployed in very dense topologies for a new category of monitoring or sensing applications. The tutorial will present an overview of the significant research activities in these two areas, and highlight some of the open problems and challenges.

The tutorial will discuss distributed techniques and algorithms for improving the packet throughput in multi-hop networks, including the design of new MAC, routing and transport layer protocols and architectures. It shall also provide an overview of the mechanisms to auto-configure and secure the routing paths in such multi-hop networks. The second part of the tutorial will focus on the recent advances in sensor networking, including techniques for localization, content-based routing and data retrieval, energy-efficient topology formation and routing and middleware components for monitoring applications.

Intended audience:

The tutorial is intended for graduate students, faculty and researchers interested in algorithms and protocols for wireless networking. The tutorial should also be relevant for research and development personnel in companies interested in understanding the evolution of, and research issues in, next-generation wireless networking scenarios. At the end of the tutorial, the attendees should be able to grasp the basic problems and proposed solutions for multi-hop and sensor networks, as well as identify open problems and research issues in this field. The tutorial assumes that the attendees are familiar with the basic principles of wireless communication and the IP stack; the tutorial will not specifically address the design of MAC protocols for one-hop wireless LANs.

Pervasive Computing and Communications

Prof. Mohan Kumar

Pervasive computing technologies and associated software are being employed to facilitate such applications as telemedicine, education, space endeavors, manufacturing, crisis management, transportation, and defense for all the time and everywhere use. In pervasive computing environments, hardware and software entities are expected to function autonomously, continually and correctly. Recent advances in hardware, software agents, and middleware technologies have been mainly responsible for the emergence of pervasive computing as perhaps the most exciting area of computing in recent times. Pervasive computing encompasses mobile computing and distributed computing and more -- agent technologies, middleware, situation-aware computing etc. Pervasive computing is about providing 'where you want, when you want, what you want and how you want' services to users, applications and devices. There have been many outstanding papers in recent years, highlighting the challenges of pervasive computing [Sat01, Ban00]. These issues and challenges can be listed as - invisibility, interoperability and heterogeneity, proactivity, mobility, intelligence and security.

Pervasive computing environments consist of a wide range of network based appliances, applications and services interconnected using both wired and wireless networks. Indeed, pervasive computing is synonymous with pervasive connectivity. In such environments, active networks can play a very important role in providing intelligence, flexibility and continuity. With active networking, Computing can be embedded in the communication fabric and distributed in wide-areas within the infrastructure so that pervasive devices receive desired services. Agents with well specified behavior can execute on behalf of applications or services, on active nodes. Service provisioning in pervasive computing can be enhanced significantly with effective active networking. Agent and proxy execution is an important aspect of pervasive computing. Profiles can be effectively employed to provide context-aware services and information to users.

Current applications demand automated, continual unobtrusive services and proactive real-time collaborations among devices and software agents in dynamic heterogeneous environments. The existing push-/pull-based Internet and network model that are intended essentially for static information services, are inadequate to meet these requirements. Even though, differentiated services are provided for in IPv6, current push-based access methods are notorious for long waiting periods and unnecessary bandwidth consumption. There is a need for transparent but ubiquitous services that can handle dynamic information, act instantly, ensure correct behavior, make immediate decisions, and perhaps prevent undesirable events from happening. Agents located at vantage points, on active nodes within the network, can be exploited to provide the necessary services. Active networking allows services to possess such traits as scalability, transparency, adaptability, and fault-tolerance.

Table of contents:

The tutorial consists of an overview of pervasive computing. This will be followed by motivation and some examples of pervasive computing applications. Research topics and application areas will be discussed briefly. The topics are as follows:
  • Introduction to pervasive computing
  • Issues and challenges in pervasive computing
  • Main topics to be covered
  • Heterogeneity and interoperability
  • Transparency and proactivity
  • Mobility and location-awareness
  • Agents, proxies and profiles
  • Networking issues
  • Service discovery
  • Smart environments
  • Information push/pull
  • Privacy and security
  • Overview of ongoing projects
  • Pervasive information community organization (NSF funded work at UTA)
  • Brief discussion of research topics
  • Brief discussion on new applications
  • Telemedicine, secure environments and Manufacturing
  • Internet based demonstrations of ongoing work is possible. Alternatively, simple examples can be shown on a laptop.

Intended audience:

Students: senior undergraduate and graduate students in computer science and computing engineering.
University and industry researchers in networking, distributed computing and AI.
Application developers: in addition to networking and distributed systems developers, this tutorial is relevant to application developers in embedded systems, 3G and beyond wireless systems, smart homes/offices, telemedicine.

Mobile Agents in Distributed Computing and Networking

Dr. Jiannong Cao

Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in mobile agent (MA) technology and its applications. A mobile agent is a computer program that can autonomously migrate between network sites, i.e., it can execute at a host for a while, halt execution, dispatch itself to another host, and resume execution there - all under its own control. Characteristics of mobile agents include mobility, autonomy, asynchronous execution, support for mobile computing, etc.

Although mobile agent cannot be applied everywhere, it has shown its promise as a powerful means to complement and enhance existing technology in various application areas. In particular, existing work has demonstrated that MA can simplify the development and improve the performance of networking and distributed processing functions. This tutorial introduces the basic concepts and principles of mobile agents, provides an overview of mobile agent technology, and then focuses on its applications in networking and distributed computing. In some applications such as information searching, e-commerce, client-server coordination, and network management, mobile agents are delegated to remote nodes to perform various tasks but they rarely communicate with each other. In some other applications, cooperating mobile agents are used, which require interaction and cooperation of participating agents.

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction to mobile agents
    1. What is mobile agent?
    2. Characteristics of mobile agents
    3. Mobile agent applications
  2. Mobile agent platform and mechanisms
    1. What is a mobile agent platform?
    2. Functionalities and Mechanisms of a mobile agent platform
    3. Representative systems
  3. Principles of applying mobile agents to networking and distributed computing
    1. Cooperating mobile agents
    2. Mobile agent communications and coordination
    3. Ant Colony algorithms
  4. Mobile agents in networking
    1. Networking routing
    2. Resource and service discovery
    3. Network management
    4. Intrusion detection
  5. Mobile agents in distributed computing
    1. Load balancing
    2. Transaction processing
    3. Distributed algorithms (mutual exclusion, deadlock detection, consensus, etc)
  6. Mobile agents in mobile computing
    1. Mobile agent based mobile computing middleware
    2. Mobile agent platforms on wireless handhold devices