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978-3-8439-0791-0, Reihe Informatik
SQLSpaces – A Platform for Flexible Language-Heterogeneous Multi-Agent Systems
190 Seiten, Dissertation Universität Duisburg-Essen (2012), Hardcover, A5
This thesis presents SQLSpaces as a framework to build complex distributed, robust and flexible systems. While there are many other frameworks with similar goals, SQLSpaces particularly targets scenarios that can be subsumed under the label "exploratory and distributed development of complex and heterogeneous systems". Projects of this type are characterized by heterogeneous programming languages, distributed developer teams and incomplete and evolving requirements.
This setting is typical also for those research projects, in which the SQLSpaces were developed. In addition to these rather technical aspects, another emphasis of the SQLSpaces is on a good developer support and on an easy-to-learn concept and programming interface. Concerning architectures, the SQLSpaces are a good way to create multi-agent systems that – due to their loosely coupled and immanent task-separation – fit very well to the above mentioned scenarios.
After a summary of relevant related work and technologies, the conceptual as well as the technical challenges of the implementation are defined and illustrated and after that the solutions are explained and justified. These challenges comprise questions about the complexity of adequate data structures and abstraction levels of protocols, about synchronization and concurrency challenges, collaboration support and versioning problems as well as practical issues like performance considerations and developer support.
To prove that the resulting framework has achieved all previously defined goals, a number of systems that were mostly developed in national and international research projects are presented with a focus on the architectural aspects related to the SQLSpaces. Most of these projects are implemented using multi-agent systems, but often with a different conceptual "style". Furthermore, the SQLSpaces themselves play different roles in these projects, ranging from a rather simple data storage engine, over a language switchboard, to a flexible coordination layer to integrate heterogeneous system components.
In order to cover also the non-functional goals, interviews with users (i.e. developers) were conducted and evaluated. At the end of this thesis, a summary and an outlook on future work and follow-up research is given.