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Coordination in LO

Jean-Marc Andreoli
Coordinating autonomous, possibly heterogeneous agents requires, at least, a flexible communication infrastucture allowing interactions between the coordinated entities (called the "participants"), respecting their autonomy and capable of dealing with their heterogeneity. Shared dataspace communication models, such as Linda, fulfill these requirements. In such models, for each coordinated entity, a piece of code interfacing the entity with the shared dataspace must be provided. The advantage of this approach is that each of these interfaces can be written with whatever languages and systems are most suited to the entity which they interface. However, a drawback is that the coordination code must be incorporated inside these interfaces, and none of them, being attached to individual participants, have a global vision of what the coordinated behavior should be. By analogy with an orchestra, one cannot expect the different players to coordinate their activities simply by listening to the output of the rest of the group; a conductor, who has a global vision of the expected coordinated behavior, is needed. In this paper, we present an overview of the work based on the LO coordination model, aiming at simplifying the design of coordinators, seen as "software conductors". Coordination in LO is specified declaratively using rules. On the one hand, rules are well suited to the kind of flexible synchronization constraints required by coordination. On the other hand, they manipulate only high level properties of the participants, abstracting away the complexity due to their heterogeneity. This complexity is transfered into the interfaces in charge of publishing the properties of the participants.
Andreoli, Hankin, LeMetayer (Eds): Coordination Programming: mechanisms, models and semantics. Imperial College Press, London, U.K., 1996.


Coordination-in-LO.pdf (223.75 kB)