Despite the recent appearance of self-organizing distributed systems for Mobile Ad Hoc Networks (MANETs) and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks, specific theoretical aspects of both their properties and the mechanisms used to establish those properties have been largely overlooked. This has left many researchers confused as to what constitutes a self-organizing distributed system and without a vocabulary with which to discuss aspects of these systems. This article introduces an agent-based model of self-organizing MANET and P2P systems and shows how it is realised in three existing network systems. The model is based on concepts such as partial views, evaluation functions, system utility, feedback and decay. We review the three network systems, AntHocNet, SAMPLE, and Freenet, and show how they can achieve high scalability, robustness and adaptability to unpredictable changes in their environment, by using self-organizing mechanisms similar to those found in nature. They are designed to improve their operation in a dynamic, heterogeneous environment, enabling them to often demonstrate superior performance to state of the art distributed systems. This article is also addressed at researchers interested in gaining a general understanding of different mechanisms and properties of self-organization in distributed systems.
2007. Vol. 2, no 1
Algorithms; Design; Management; Performance; Reliability; Adaptive systems; Complex systems; MANET; peer-to-peer; Self-organisation