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Ambient-Oriented Dataflow Programming for Mobile RFID-Enabled Applications

Tuesday, 8 November, 2011 - 17:00
Campus: Brussels Humanities, Sciences & Engineering campus
Faculty: Science and Bio-engineering Sciences
D
2.01
Andoni Lombide Carreton
phd defence

In ubiquitous computing research it is generally accepted that software has to be looselycoupled
and event-driven. Applications have to be decoupled in space, time and arity in
order to cope with dynamically reconfiguring wireless networks and intermittent network
connections. They have to be event-driven in order to react to fluctuating wireless
connections, users, other computers, sensors, etc. This has led to a number of programming
models tailored towards such distributed event-driven applications. The one on
which this work is based is the ambient-oriented programming paradigm [DVCM+05],
which is a programming language paradigm specifically tailored towards applications
running on mobile devices, such as smartphones.
RFID is an emerging wireless technology that allows to enrich everyday objects
with a digital representation. Current RFID-enabled applications merely use RFID tags
as a barcodes, associating physical objects with a digital representation in a centralized
backend database. However, RFID technology is increasingly integrated in mobile
devices, giving rise to mobile RFID-enabled applications. We begin this dissertation by
extending ambient-oriented programming to be able to conceive mobile RFID-enabled
applications as ambient-oriented programs running on mobile devices where remote
software objects can designate tagged real-world things.
Like any event-driven architecture, ambient-oriented programming requires the
programmer to coordinate an application by means of callbacks, which causes the welldocumented
problem of inversion of control [HO06]. This problem becomes much
more prominent in mobile RFID-enabled applications because of the massive number
of events that such applications need to react to. This dissertation proposes dataflow
programming in order to tackle this problem. Dataflow programming allows reacting
to events without inversion of control [MRO10]. Unfortunately, current incarnations of
dataflow programming do not offer the aforementioned decoupling in space, time and
arity. To achieve this decoupling, we integrate dataflow programming with ambientoriented
programming into ambient-oriented dataflow programming.
We analyze ambient-oriented dataflow programming on two levels, namely the
node level and the network level. With node-centric ambient-oriented dataflow programming,
nodes specify their distributed dataflow dependencies declaratively by subscribing
to and publishing events, and let the language runtime take care of coordinating
dependent event-driven code instead of relying on callbacks. However, since dependent
code is evaluated implicitly in response to remotely signaled events, the global
control flow of a large distributed applications becomes implicit and hard to predict.
This leads us to design a network-centric visual ambient-oriented dataflow language in
which an explicit network-level data flow is used for coordinating an application. In order
to cope with the dynamic nature of mobile RFID-enabled applications, it allows to
visually specify the arity and binding semantics of distributed dataflow dependencies.