Open Systems Laboratory at Illinois

Research Theme

The goal of the Illinois Open Systems Laboratory is to develop mechanisms to simplify the development of scalable parallel, distributed and mobile computing systems. Such systems are open to interactions with their environment, must satisfy real-time constraints, and often affect physical processes. The approach of the laboratory is multidisciplinary—is conducted in foundational models of concurrency, programming languages, and middleware.

Research in the laboratory is based on the actor model of concurrent computation. Actors are inherently autonomous computational objects which interact with each other by sending messages. Each actor has a unique name the activity of different actors is potentially parallel. Actor systems are highly dynamic: new actors may be created and names of actors exchanged. The model is very general: processes, sensors and actuators can be modelled as actors.

Over the last decade, research in the group has developed a meta-architectural model for middleware. The model has been formalized and applied to dependable computing and software architecture. Programming abstractions have been developed to represent coordination constraints real-time and requirements. The Actor model has been extended to explicitly model mobility and bounded resources, thus providing a powerful formalism for mobile agents.

Latest Publications

  1. Dan Plyukhin and Gul Agha. Concurrent garbage collection in the actor model. In Proceedings of the 8th ACM SIGPLAN International Workshop on Programming Based on Actors, Agents, and Decentralized Control, AGERE 2018, 44–53. New York, NY, USA, 2018. ACM.
  2. Sihan Li, Farah Hariri, and Gul Agha. Targeted test generation for actor systems. In 32nd European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, ECOOP 2018, July 16-21, 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, volume 109 of LIPIcs, 8:1–8:31. Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik, 2018.
  3. Ehsan Khamespanah, Marjan Sirjani, Kirill Mechitov, and Gul Agha. Modeling and analyzing real-time wireless sensor and actuator networks using actors and model checking. STTT, 20(5):547–561, 2018.
  4. Tarek Elgamal, Atul Sandur, Phuong Nguyen, Klara Nahrstedt, and Gul Agha. DROPLET: distributed operator placement for iot applications spanning edge and cloud resources. In 11th IEEE International Conference on Cloud Computing, CLOUD 2018, San Francisco, CA, USA, July 2-7, 2018, 1–8. IEEE Computer Society, 2018.
  5. Gul Agha and Karl Palmskog. Transforming threads into actors: learning concurrency structure from execution traces. In Principles of Modeling - Essays Dedicated to Edward A. Lee on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday, volume 10760 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 16–37. Springer, 2018.

See the list of all publications for more.