School of Computing


TrAmS - Trustworthy Ambient Systems

Advances in communications and networking technology are making it possible to devise 'ambient' systems in which mobile computing devices and software agents form ad hoc groupings, sharing data and services. Ambient systems pose huge new dependability challenges partly because they cannot be designed as a coherent whole. Mobility means they will be open to new malicious interference and accidental failure modes that are difficult to predict at design time. Their decentralised character means that recovery is potentially difficult. Separate ownership of components means that we can not design for central control over evolution and upgrades. Together, these factors mean that traditional approaches to the engineering of fault-tolerant, dependable systems, which rely on firm design-time knowledge of run-time structure, will be challenged. The very acceptance of ambient systems will depend on socio-technical factors such as how users view the risks and benefits.

Our focus is on the trustworthiness of ambient systems, encompassing both dependability and the evidence that a system is dependable. We are therefore interested in the technology of fault-tolerance, but also highly rigorous techniques for developing and analysing fault-tolerant systems, and the human dimension of the acceptability of ambient systems. The project sets out to address a number of specific technical challenges in the five domains: Formal Foundations, Calculi and Logic, Integrated Verification Tools, Design of Trustworthy Ambient Systems, Fault Tolerance Technologies for Ambient Systems, and Socio-technical issues. The platform project supports continuity of research staff, preliminary investigation of new research directions, and supporting travel and visitors to maintain and develop existing and new collaborations.