VIM: Case for extension

The case for extension identified the following on-going projects, based on the input I received from partners.
  1. The development of the base software for the virtual multicomputer and the incorporation of suitable libraries for graphical interfaces (via Tcl/Tk) and message-passing (MPI) has now been completed to the extent that the first full release of the system, called youtoo, has just been made. During the past summer a first version of a distributed application modelling the Spanish fish market was built as a result of a young researcher from IIIA visiting Bath. In the light of that work, we will be constructing a second version with the assistance of another young researcher from IIIA visiting Bath from October to December. Although several aspects of this line of work are beginning to be turned into publishable material, the practical work that remains to be done will still take at least another 6 months and preparation for publication of this further work, another 3 months.

    Active partners: CSIC (IIIA), Bath.

    Status: work started, but currently dormant

  2. Given the state of development of youtoo (see previous paragraph), we are only now in a position to tackle one of the items in the project's original programme of work, namely the re-implementation of the NOOS system. This will enable the deployment of NOOS in a distributed environment, as well as being a major application for the youtoo system. It is expected this will take at least six months from our intended start date in mid-November.

    Active partners: CSIC(IIIA), Bath.

    Status: implementation of NOOS in youtoo complete, demonstrators needed

  3. The network has begun preparing papers for a special number of Artificial Intelligence Communications, the journal of the European AI society. Initial preparation of the papers could take as little as 3 months, but type-setting and publication a further 3 to 6 months.

    Active partners: Bath, GMD Bonn, CSIC(IIIA), Pisa.

    Status: in progress

  4. As a result of the development of the youtoo system, new work began this summer, involving Kiel, Southampton and Bath, on the specification of the operational semantics of language interpreters and their automatic generation and their subsequent verification. An especially interesting, and novel, aspect is the specification of storage management as part of the language's operational semantics. Consequently, we hope to be able to generate complete correct language implementations (compiler, run-time system and storage manager) from an operational specification. It is not expected to be able to finish such a major item of work within any reasonable extension of this network, but it seems appropriate to mention this work in the context of a case for an extension, since without an extension, this collaboration would probably lapse until further funding could be found.

    Active partners: Kiel, Southampton, Bath.

    Status: dormant

  5. A concurrent FPIV project (GEOMED) involving GMD Bonn and the Free University Brussels makes use of similar technology to that being developed in this network, namely agents. Now, both projects are in a position to assess one another and it is important that we take this opportunity for cross-fertilization that GEOMED and VIM offer us. In particular, the focus on mediation services for GEOMED presents an interestingly similar but different scenario to the auction process of the Spanish fish market. We now need to compare communication protocols to identify higher level patterns which may have implications for electronic commerce in general. Again, we foresee this work taking a further 6-9 months, partly because it involves some of the people working on the first item.

    Active partners: GMD Bonn, CSIC(IIIA), VUB.

    Status: unknown

  6. A young researcher, who will shortly be starting as a research student at Bath, would greatly benefit from spending three months at each of VUB and GMD, in order to focus his studies in the area of robotics. This cannot begin before January next year, due to the student's present commitments.

    Active partners: VUB, GMD Bonn.

    Status: student currently at VUB

  7. A fuzzy inference system was developed jointly by GMD FIRST and URV (Tarragona) to construct appropriate configurations of a set of potential strategies for mapping programs to parallel machines. This is a novel application of fuzzy inference - and has also led to new techniques in fuzzy inference. This has been made possible by the VIM project bringing together the know-how of two groups working in completely different fields. The publication of the preliminary results is in preparation, and an extension of the network would ensure that the work and the publication can be finished. (The group in Tarragona has no budget to continue this research otherwise.) Furthermore, concrete ideas exist for extending the work in the direction of distributed systems where configuration is of high significance, too. The VIM project would not only provide the necessary funding, but also the important technical framework of several partners working on distributed systems - and thus also allow further integration of the partners' work done during the last 3 years.

    Active partners: GMD Berlin, URV Tarragona.

    Status: unknown

  8. Further development of youtoo and distributed applications is planned by way of the primary developer - a young researcher in Bath - making extended visits to Pisa and to Bellaterra (CSIC/IIIA) in the first six months of next year. In the first case, work will focus on transfer of expertise in delivering symbolic applications, portable storage management tools and experience with an alternative operating system (Windows NT). In the second case, work will focus on the continued development of fish market models and the NOOS knowledge based system.

    Active partners: Bath, Pisa, CSIC(IIIA).

    Status: Andreas Kind visiting Pisa

  9. Finally, in order to bring the program of the network to a satisfactory conclusion, we plan to hold a workshop during the first half of 1997 to showcase the results of the project, with invited speakers who are notable workers in relevant fields and scholarships for young researchers from outside the network to attend. It is intended this will result in the publication of a proceedings as a book, probably in the second half of 1997. Further publications should appear in the same time frame as a result of research currently in progress. Thus, a final report in October 1997, should be able to identify a significant number of joint publications which are a result of the existence and actions of the network.

    Active partners: all. Status: in progress


    Julian Padget, jap@maths.bath.ac.uk, this version March 04, 1996