, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 359–378 | Cite as

The pursuit of computational justice in open systems

  • Jeremy Pitt
  • Dídac Busquets
  • Régis Riveret
Original Article


Many open networks, distributed computing systems, and infrastructure management systems face a common problem: how to distribute a collectivised set of resources amongst a set of autonomous agents of heterogenous provenance. One approach is for the agents themselves to self-organise the allocation of resources with respect to a set of agreed conventional rules; but given an allocation scheme which maps resources to those agents and a set of rules for determining that allocation scheme, some natural questions arise—Is this allocation fair? Is the allocation method effective? Is it efficient? Are the decision makers accountable? In this paper, we argue that some answers to these questions can be found in the formal characterisation of different aspects of ‘justice’ and that these different aspects need a principled operationalisation as policies for system management. We present a formal model and some experimental results, concluding that the different aspects are all inter-connected and that what is required is a comprehensive research programme in computational justice.


Multi-agent systems Self-organisation Resource allocation Computational justice 



We are particularly grateful for the constructive comments of the four anonymous reviewers. The second and third authors both hold Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowships.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK

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