Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems (SAPERE) Project

The SAPERE project has developed a highly-innovative theoretical and practical framework for the decentralized deployment and execution of self-aware and adaptive services for future and emerging pervasive network scenarios.

SAPERE takes its primary inspiration from natural ecosystems, and starts from the consideration that the dynamics and decentralization of future pervasive networks will make it suitable to model the overall world of services, data, and devices as a sort of distributed computational ecosystem.

However, unlike the many proposals that adopt the term “ecosystem” simply as a mean to characterize the complexity and dynamics of modern ICT systems, SAPERE brings the adoption of natural metaphors down to the core of its approach, by exploiting nature-inspired mechanisms for actually ruling the overall system dynamics.

The SAPERE framework has been grounded on a foundational re-thinking of current service models and of associated infrastructures and algorithms. In particular, getting inspiration from natural ecosystems, the project experiments the possibility of modelling and deploying services as autonomous individuals in an ecosystem of other services, data sources, and pervasive devices, and of enforcing self-awareness and autonomic behaviours as inherent properties of the ecosystem, rather than as peculiar characteristics of its individuals only.

The specific objectives, each contributing to the overall definition of the integrated SAPERE framework, include:

  • Defining an innovative model for service and data components in the ecosystem, based on a simple concept of self-aware components and a general nature-inspired interaction model;

  • Studying and experimenting decentralized self-* algorithms to enforce various forms of spatial selforganization, self-composition, and self-management for data and services in the ecosystem;

  • Studying and experimenting solutions to support advanced management of data and situation identification, to inject advanced forms of present- and future-awareness in the ecosystem;

  • Implementing an innovative, lightweight and modular infrastructure for the deployment and execution of services, and for the management of contextual data items.

Its applications include:

** Profile- and identity-based content adaptation.*
** Distributed interest announcements.*
** Individual and crowd steering in public spaces.*

International Workshop on the Impact of Human Mobility in Pervasive Systems and Applications (PerMoby 2016)

PerMoby is an IEEE PerCom Workshop

Date: March 14, 2016

The key components of many pervasive systems and applications are already deployed in the form of ubiquitous commercial products carried by humans, and human mobility makes it possible for them to interact. Smartphones, tablet PCs, and other personal devices act as mobile computing elements able to gather information about the surrounding environment according to the movement schemes of users. In other situations these devices operate as mobile nodes of the computing and/or networking infrastructure, where interaction and communication occur opportunistically. Thus, while in many cases mobility is considered as a dimension that makes more difficult the design of a system, in other scenarios it is the fundamental enabler of the application itself. Human mobility promotes cooperation and sharing of content, services and resources, not only within the set personal devices, but also between personal devices and the resource-rich environment that is typical of pervasive computing.

The goal of PerMoby is to explore the impact of human mobility on the achievement of the pervasive computing vision. The focus is on pervasive applications, systems, and protocols where mobility plays an active role in achieving the end goals.

Abstract. This paper discusses the notion of “core bio-inspired services” - low-level services providing basic bio-inspired mechanisms, such as evaporation, aggregation or spreading - shared by higher-level services or applications. Design patterns descriptions of self-organising mechanisms, such as gossip, morphogenesis, or foraging, show that these higher- level mechanisms are composed of basic bio-inspired mechanisms (e.g. digital pheromone is composed of spreading, aggregation and evaporation). In order to ease design and implementation of self-organising applications (or high-level services), by supporting reuse of code and algorithms, this paper proposes BIO-CORE, an execution model that provides these low-level services at the heart of any middleware or infrastructure supporting such applications, and provides them as “core” built-in services around which all other services are built.

Keywords: Bio-inspired design patterns, self-organising systems’ engineering.

Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems


Here we present the overall objectives and approach of the SAPERE (“Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems”) project, focussed on the development of a highly-innovative nature-inspired framework, suited for the decentralized deployment, execution, and management, of self-aware and adaptive pervasive services in future network scenarios.

Procedia Computer Science 7 (2011) 197–199

The European Future Technologies Conference and Exhibition 2011

Self-aware Pervasive Service Ecosystems

Keywords: Self-awareness in Autonomic Systems; Pervasive Computing Service; Nature-inspired Computing

  1. Motivations

Pervasive computing technologies promise to notably change the future ICT landscape, letting us envision the emergence of an integrated and very dense socio-technical infrastructure for the provisioning of innovative general-purpose digital services. The infrastructure will be used to ubiquitously access services for better interacting with the surrounding physical world and with the social activities occurring in it. It is also expected that users will be able to deploy customized services, making the overall infrastructure as open as the Web currently is.

To support the vision, a great deal of research activity in pervasive computing and service systems has been devoted to solve problems such as: increasing dependability; supporting self-* features; enforcing context-awareness and adaptability; tolerating evolution over time and eventually ensuring that service frameworks can be highly-adaptive and very long-lasting [1]. Unfortunately, most of the solutions so far are proposed in terms of “add-ons” to be integrated in existing frameworks. The result is often an increased complexity of current frameworks and the emergence of contrasting trade-off between different solutions.

In our opinion, there is need for tackling the problem at the foundation, answering the following ambitious question: is it possible to conceive a radically new way of modeling integrated pervasive services and their execution environments, such that the apparently diverse issues of context-awareness, dependability, openness, flexible and robust evolution, can all be uniformly addressed once and for all?

198 F. Zambonelli et al. / Procedia Computer Science 7 (2011) 197–199

  1. The SAPERE Approach

The overall goal of the SAPERE project is to show that a positive answer to the above question exists, by defining an innovative framework in which all the identified issues can be solved due to the inherent properties of the framework itself. To this end, SAPERE takes its primary inspiration from natural ecosystems, and starts from the consideration that the dynamics and decentralization of future pervasive networks will make it suitable to model the overall world of services, data, and devices as a sort of distributed computational. In particular, SAPERE brings the adoption of natural metaphors down to the core of its approach, by exploiting nature-inspired mechanisms (and in particular bio-chemical ones [2,3]) for actually ruling the overall system dynamics.

Specifically, SAPERE considers modeling and architecting a pervasive service environment as a non-layered spatial substrate, laid above the actual pervasive network infrastructure. The substrate embeds the basic laws of nature (or eco-laws) that rule the activities of the system. There, individuals of different species (i.e., the components of the pervasive service ecosystem) interact and combine with each other (in respect of the eco-laws and typically based on their spatial relationships), so as to serve their own individual needs as well as the sustainability of the overall ecology.

Users can access the ecology in a decentralized way to use and consume data and services, and they can also act as “prosumers”.

For the components living in the ecosystem, SAPERE plans to adopt a common modeling and a common treatment of services, data, and devices. All “entities” living in the SAPERE ecosystem will have an associated semantic representation, enabling dynamic unsupervised interactions between components. For the sake of simplicity, SAPERE will assume such semantic representations as associated by design to components. However, to account for the high dynamics of the scenario and for its need of continuous adaptation, SAPERE will define such annotations as living, active entities, tightly associated to the component they describe, and capable of reflecting its current situation and context. Such Live Semantic Annotations (LSAs) will thus act as observable interfaces of resources, as well as the basis for enforcing semantic and self-aware forms of dynamic interactions (both for service aggregation/composition and for data/knowledge management).

For the eco-laws driving the dynamics of the ecosystem, SAPERE envisions them to define the basic policies to drive virtual chemical reactions among the LSAs of the various individuals of the ecology. In particular, the idea is to enforce, on a spatial basis and possibly relying on diffusive mechanisms, dynamic networking and composition of data and services. In particular, data and services will be sorts of chemical reagents, and interactions and compositions will occur via chemical reactions, i.e., semantic pattern-matching, between LSAs. Such reactions will contribute establishing virtual chemical bonds between entities as well as producing new components.

Adaptivity in the proposed SAPERE approach will not be in the capability of individual components, but rather in the overall dynamics of the ecosystem. In particular, adaptivity will be ensured by the fact that any change in the system or in its components will reflect in the firing of new chemical reactions, thus possibly leading to the establishment of new bonds and/or in the breaking of some existing bonds between components. In other words, SAPERE will not promote adaptivity by creating self-awareness at the level of components, but rather promoting a sort of systemic self-awareness.

Such way of enforcing adaptation will also tolerate long-term evolutions of the system. In fact, even if SAPERE will not assume the capability of individual components to evolve, the injection of new updated components in the system, and their being automatically involved in the ecosystem dynamics, will provide for a sort of seamless evolution, as in natural selection.

  1. Conclusions

SAPERE proposes a radical deconstruction of traditional perspectives on self-adaptive and self-aware pervasive service systems and, as the activities within the SAPERE Consortium will proceed, we will challenge the SAPERE finding and tools against innovative services in the area of crowd management [4], by exploiting an ecosystem of pervasive displays as a technical testbed [5]. Stay tuned on SAPERE!


Work supported by the SAPERE project (EU FP7-FET, Contract No. 256873).

F. Zambonelli et al. / Procedia Computer Science 7 (2011) 197–199 199


[1] S. Dobson, R. Sterritt, P. Nixon, M. Hinchey, Fulfilling the vision of autonomic computing, IEEE Computer 43 (1) (2010) 35–41.

[2] M. Viroli, M. Casadei, Biochemical tuple spaces for self-organizing coordination, in: Coordination Languages and Models, Vol. 5521 of LNCS,

[3] R. Frei, G.D.M. Serugendo, T.-F. Serbanuta, Ambient intelligence in self-organising assembly systems using the chemical reaction model,

Journal of Ambient Intelligence and Humanized Computing 1 (3) (2010) 163–184.

[4] F. Zambonelli, Pervasive urban crowdsourcing: Visions and challenges, in: 5th International PerCom Workshop on Pervasive Life, Learning,

and Leisure, IEEE CS Press, 2011.

[5] A. Sippl, C. Holzmann, D. Zachhuber, A. Ferscha, Real-time gaze tracking for public displays, in: First International Joint Conference on

Ambient Intelligence, Vol. 6439 of LNCS, 2010.

Pervasive Urban Crowdsourcing: Visions and Challenges:


Pervasive computing technologies can enable very flexible situated collaboration patterns among citizens and, via crowdsourcing, can promote a participatory way of contributing to the wealth and quality of life of our urban environments. This position paper firstly sketches a future vision of pervasive computing rich and crowdsourcing-enabled urban environments. Then, it presents several case studies showing how such environments can be of great use and highly impactful from both the individual and societal viewpoint. Finally, it discusses several open research challenges to be faced for these ideas to become reality.

2.1. Pervasive Infrastructures and Services

The increasing deployment and exploitation of pervasive computing technologies is making our urban environments very rich in terms of sensing, actuating and computing devices. These include: sensing devices such as, e.g., sensor networks, cameras, RFID tags, location and proximity sensing, traffic sensing, pollution sensing; actuating devices such as, adaptive traffic lights and signs, traffic inhibitors, interactive displays; all of which typically embedding computational, communication, and storage capabilities.

Overall, the above trend is contributing to the emergence of a very dense ICT infrastructure embedded in the physical and social fabric of our cities. The infrastructure can clearly be put to the service of users for the provisioning of general-purpose ubiquitous services for better interacting with the surrounding physical world and with the social activities in it, a trend that is already in act [Cas07].

However, assume all the components of the infrastructure can be made somehow able to dynamically and adaptively connect and collaborate with each other via proper collaboration and middleware tools. Then, the infrastructure can somehow turn our urban environments in sorts of active organisms capable of autonomously and adaptively shape urban activities and urban life in a purposeful way (e.g., to adaptively route vehicles depending on current traffic and pollution conditions).

Pushing the vision forward, we will eventually assist to the emergence of a sort of urban-level intelligence, to externalize and enhance our physical and social intelligence, integrate it with that of the urban organism, and make it become pervasive and collective.

2.2. Humans as Devices

It is already widely recognized that, to enhance sensing and computing capabilities of our urban environments, users should play an active role. That is, they should contribute their own sensing and computing devices (as available in modern smart phones and cars) [Kra08], thus making the overall infrastructure as open and capable of value co-creation as the Web is. However, the contribution of humans can go farther than simply making devices available.

The fact is that humans are very powerful devices in themselves and – in several cases – have sensing, actuating, and computing capabilities well beyond those available (now and in the near future) with ICT devices [YueCK09]. For sensing, it is a matter of fact that there are situations and events that only human sensitivity and experience can recognize while ICT devices can’t (think at discriminating two young boys fighting against two playing to fight). For actuating physical actions, the human body has levels of mobility and flexibility that hardly any device or robot can reach. For computation, many pattern recognition problems can be performed with much higher accuracy by humans that by any of the available algorithmic tools.

This said, the levels of intelligence and flexibility of our envisioned urban organism could become much higher by integrating the capabilities of ICT devices with those of human devices. The result could be a powerful Socio-Technical organism urban organism in which the ICT and the human capabilities are brought together in a single infrastructure and blurred to the point of invisibility. In an opportunistic way, and depending on needs and capabilities, one can think at inter-twining the complimentary capabilities of human and ICT sensing, actuating, and computing, in a process of extremely high value co-creation.

2.3. Pervasive Urban Crowdsourcing

The key point in enabling the vision of such integrated socio-technical urban organism is devising means by which to dynamically involve and engage in collaboration the needed human capabilities.

On the one hand, the idea of outsourcing computationally hard problems to humans by dynamic recruitment of volunteers, i.e., via crowdsourcing, has indeed recently attracted much attention [Sur04, Bra08, Eag09, Kra10]. In most of current histories of success, though, the problems to be solved are typically related to working on digital data (e.g., tagging pictures and videos [Eag09, Der10] or performing character recognition [ShaH10]), and are based on global (world-wide) recruitment models supported by Web technologies. Little attention is paid to solving situated physical problems, requiring specific sensing, actuations, or computations, in specific locations and times.

On the other hand, many recent works in the area of pervasive computing focus on situated participatory situated sensing models [Alt10, Red10, Yan10, Wil10]. The key point in these researches is how to involve people at some specific locations with sensing devices available (e.g. the camera of a smart phone) in supplying information about specific situations occurring around (e.g., taking a picture of the location and making it available). Still, beside possibly asking for adding some tags to the supplied information, little attention is paid to the possibility of dynamically recruiting humans in a pervasive and situated way to take advantage of their peculiar actuating and computational capabilities.

Our broader perspective is that pervasive computing technologies can support much more powerful, pervasive and situated, crowdsourcing models. That is, crowdsourcing models in which also the human capabilities of acting and computing in the physical world can be put at play in a globally collaborative urban organism (and, why not, also by dynamically putting on the table the possibility of exploiting privately owned physical resources). By sensing the needs of a city and of its citizens, by perceiving who’s around that can help, and by dynamically establishing collaborative activities seamlessly involving ICT devices and humans pervasive urban crowdsourcing promises to be able to dramatically improve the way we live, work, move, and play in our towns. Yet, the broader application potentials of such idea are still widely unexplored, as they are the key challenges involved in realizing the idea.


Faculty of Engineering, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Professor of Intelligent and Self-Organising Systems

Imperial College London

Guest Lectures

Computational Justice for Self-organisng Socio-Technical Systems, International Conference on Computing, Networks, Databases and Security, Tumkur, India, 2013

Formal Models of Social Processes: Towards a New Science of Institutions, IEEE International Symposium on Technology & Society, Toronto, Canada, 2013

How to Get a PhD In Self-Organising Systems, AWARE Workshop at SASO’2012, Lyon, France, 2012

Distributive and Retributive Justice in Self-Organising Electronic Institutions, Trusted Self-Organising Systems (TSOS) Workshop at Privacy, Security & Trust (PSA), Paris, France, 2012

The Logical Axiomatisation of Socio-Economic Principles for Self-Organising Electronic Institutions, IEEE 21st International Conference WETICE, Toulouse, France, 2012

A Methodology for Engineering Intelligent Socio-Technical Systems, International Conference Bionetics, York, UK, 2011

Autonomic Power System: Towards SmartGrid 2050, MASmart Workshop at International Conference Principles and Practice of Multi-Agent Systems (PRIMA), Wollongong, Australia, 2011

Agent-based Self-determination for Policy-oriented Infrastructure Management, cio-Economics Inspiring Self-Managed Systems and Concepts (SEISMYC) Workshop at 4th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems (SASO), Budapest, Hungary, 2010

Josiah Ober, in the School of Humanities and Science, works on historical institutionalism and political theory, focusing on the political thought and practice of the ancient Greek world and its contemporary relevance. He is the author of a number of...

Josiah Ober


Department of Political Science

Stanford University

Stanford, CA, USA

Publication Topics

artificial intelligence,climate mitigation,ecology,government policies,politics,social aspects of automation,socio-economic effects,sustainable development,decision making,government data processing,knowledge management,legislation,organisational aspects,social sciences computing


Josiah Ober is Constantine Mitsotakis Professor of political science and classics at Stanford University, Stanford, CA, USA. He is the author of Demopolis: Democracy Before Liberalism in Theory and Practice (2017), The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (2015), Democracy and Knowledge (2008), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (2008), Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), and other books on democracy and on political thought, ancient and modern.(Based on document published on 13 June 2022).

John Dryzek


Dept. of Electrical & Electronic Eng., Imperial College London, U.K.

Publication Topics

artificial intelligence,climate mitigation,ecology,socio-economic effects,sustainable development


John Dryzek is with the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra, Australia.(Based on document published on 23 June 2020).

The International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote science and technology in the areas of artificial intelligence, autonomous agents and multiagent systems.

IFAAMAS Board of Directors

The IFAAMAS Board of Directors consists of 27 members, each elected to a six-year term. Officers are elected every two years.

  • President: Catholijn Jonker, TU Delft, the Netherlands
  • Past President: Maria Gini, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Secretary: Christopher Amato, Northeastern University, USA
  • Treasurer: The Treasurer can be contacted via the President

Board Members whose term ends in 2024:

Board Members whose term ends in 2026:

Board Members whose term ends in 2028:

Emeritus Members of the Board

Associate Professor Reshef Meir is an Assistant Professor at the faculty which he joined during 2015. He received his PhD in computer science at the Hebrew University in 2013. Prior to joining the faculty he was a Post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Research on Computation and Society, Harvard University.

Associate Professor Meir present research is concerned with making realistic assumptions about the knowledge and capabilities of agents of different types, as well as comparing theoretical predictions with empirical and experimental data. Within this broad field, known by the title behavioral game theory, he focuses on the perception of uncertainty and how it affects strategic behavior.


Game theory

Mechanism design

Artificial intelligence

Strategic behavior

Curriculum Vitae – Noa Agmon:

Curriculum Vitae – David Peleg:

Exploring the behavioural spectrum with efficiency vs. fairness goals in Multi-Agent Reinforcement Learning

  • April 2022

Intelligent Transportation System

A key theme of ITS is the integrated deployment of information networks to support travel, increase transportation infrastructure use, and better manage demand.

Michael John Wooldridge (born 26 August 1966) is a professor of computer science at the University of Oxford. His main research interests is in multi-agent systems, and in particular, in the computational theory aspects of rational action in systems composed of multiple self-interested agents.[4][5][6][7][8] His work is characterised by the use of techniques from computational logic, game theory, and social choice theory.


We present an elegant and simple to implement framework for per- forming out-of-core visualization and view-dependent refinement of large terrain surfaces. Contrary to the recent trend of increas- ingly elaborate algorithms for large-scale terrain visualization, our algorithms and data structures have been designed with the primary goal of simplicity and efficiency of implementation. Our approach to managing large terrain data also departs from more conventional strategies based on data tiling. Rather than emphasizing how to seg- ment and efficiently bring data in and out of memory, we focus on the manner in which the data is laid out to achieve good memory coherency for data accesses made in a top-down (coarse-to-fine) refinement of the terrain. We present and compare the results of us- ing several different data indexing schemes, and propose a simple to compute index that yields substantial improvements in locality and speed over more commonly used data layouts.

Our second contribution is a new and simple, yet easy to gen- eralize method for view-dependent refinement. Similar to several published methods in this area, we use longest edge bisection in a top-down traversal of the mesh hierarchy to produce a continu- ous surface with subdivision connectivity. In tandem with the re- finement, we perform view frustum culling and triangle stripping. These three components are done together in a single pass over the mesh. We show how this framework supports virtually any error metric, while still being highly memory and compute efficient.


The authors would like to thank Los Alamos National Laboratory for providing

compute resources. Specifically we would like to thank Ryan Braithwaite who

configured the Darwin cluster and setup our reservation times to run our experi-

ments. This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under

Grants CMMI-0941530, OCI-108849, ACI-1261715, No. OCI-1244820, and AST-

0939767, Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Data Intensive Engineering &

Science, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-

07NA27344, and was partially supported by the Exascale Computing Project

(17-SC-20-SC), a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy Office

of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration, and under the

auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy.