Biologically Inspired Cooperative Computing

Volume 216 of the series IFIP International Federation for Information Processing pp 199-208

Emergent Distribution of Operating System Services in Wireless Ad Hoc Networks

  • Peter JanacikAffiliated withHeinz Nixdorf Institute, University of Paderborn
  • , Tales HeimfarthAffiliated withHeinz Nixdorf Institute, University of Paderborn


Despite the advances in wireless, energy-constrained ad hoc networks, there are still many challenges given the limited capabilities of the current hardware. Therefore, our aim is to develop a lightweight, yet powerful operating system (OS) for these networks. We reject the brute force method of provisioning all necessary OS services at each node of the system. Instead, our approach aims to distribute the set of requested OS services over the network to reduce and balance load, improve quality of service, increase fairness and predictability. To limit the burden imposed on the network by the service distribution mechanism, only a subset of nodes, the coordinators, chosen by an underlying state-of-the-art topology control, are concerned with this task. Coordinators observe the state of nodes and OS services within their one-hop vicinity, i.e. their decision area, incorporating different aspects, such as energy, utilisation, or available resources in their decisions. Although each coordinator acquires information and triggers migrations of service states only locally within its decision area, a global-level result emerges, as decision areas naturally overlap. In this manner, an increased amount of work load e.g. in one decision area “floats” to the surrounding decision areas attracted by better conditions. In ns-2 simulations we demonstrate that the mechanism of emergence, which produces many fascinating results in natural systems, can successfully be applied in artificial systems to considerably increase the efficiency and quality of OS service distribution.