Autonomic Service-Component Ensembles

Oct. 01, 2010 to Sep. 30, 2014

In the ASCENS (Automatic Service-Component Ensembles) project, researchers from Fraunhofer FOKUS are collaborating with scientists from across the whole of Europe in an attempt to develop theories of self-organisation of sensor networks. One Example is a traffic management system which integrates information from all available resources like vehicles, charging stations, traffic information systems and mobile devices to efficient added value services.

ASCENS scientists investigate methods for the development of self-organizing, autonomously acting ensembles of service-components. To start with, they first develop a logic and programming language together with models representing components and their interactions. On top of this come technologies for representation of knowledge, and the self-awareness and adaptability of computers. Another research focus is the proof of concept for the behavior of single components and the ensemble as a whole. And finally, the ASCENS project also aims to develop an integration platform for development tools. ASCENS researchers are conducting three case studies to verify the methods developed so far.

In the first scenario a group of robots collaborates on solving a preset task such as localizing an object and transporting it to a particular place in an environment pitted with holes, hill and barriers etc. If the robots are to master this challenge, they must be capable of awareness of themselves, their ”co-players” and their environment. They must be equipped with localization mechanisms, be able to adapt to change and they must be self-organizing. If all these boxes are successfully ticked, such ensembles of robots could be deployed in disaster areas for evacuation and reconnaissance operations.

The second case study aims at opening up Cloud computing to scientific applications. Scientific studies frequently need a great deal of computing power as well as specialized computer programs which they can get from ”Clouds” or distributed networks of computers and programs. The ASCENS project aims to make it easier for scientists to request and book services in the Cloud.

SQC plays a major role in the third case study. Together with VW, SQC is developing an intelligent traffic management system which understands each of its single components – such as vehicles, charging stations, traffic information systems but also streets and individual onboard control devices – as autonomous nodes of sensors. These autonomous nodes need to be networked to create added-value services such as improved navigation or traffic load forecasting. On the one hand, the technological challenges involved in the development of such services lie in dealing with the highly dynamic nature of traffic flows and traffic volumes, while on the other, account must also be taken of the increasing number and complexity of components, the high level of networking and the complexity of the networks to be created (car2car; car2x). To address such complexity, the project is developing a network that is decentralized, dynamic and self-learning.

ASCENS is a project managed by the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich and funded by the European Union within its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).