jakebeal's blog

Tutorial: "Predictable Self-Organization with Computational Fields"

At the 8th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptation and Self-Organization, we presented a tutorial on recent results in aggregate-level programming, much of it based on or derived from Proto.


  • Part 1: Aggregate Programming and Spatial Computing (pdf)
  • Part 2: Field Calculus and Self-Stabilization (pdf(code)
  • Part 3: From Building Block Algebras to Adaptive Libraries (pdf(code)

Award-Winning WebProto

WebProto was recognized today as the best demonstration system at SASO, the IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems.

The demo page that Kyle made to show off the interface is posted online here as well, under the WebProto menu and at this link.

Help and Examples in WebProto

Using WebProto just got easier: it now features a first-time tour that explains the simulator and gives you an example program to run.

Let us know if there are other things you'd like that would make it yet easier!

Operational Semantics of Proto

"Organizing the Aggregate" now in print

[crossposted from http://jakebeal.blogspot.com/]

The book containing our review of spatial computing programming languages is now officially out and on sale, both at the publisher's website and Amazon. It's entitled "Formal and Practical Aspects of Domain-Specific Languages: Recent Developments", and our review "Organizing the Aggregate: Languages for Spatial Computing" is Chapter 16. Now, I don't get any cut of the sales, so it doesn't matter all that much to me whether you buy it in its elegant form in the book or just snag the content from the preprint. But it's nice to see it in print.

Self-Stabilizing Team Formation wins "Best Demonstration" award!

Our Proto-based demonstration of self-stabilizing team formation just received the "Best Demonstration" award for this year's IEEE SASO conference.  We were cited, among other things, for being:

  • simple and easy to understand,
  • an excellent example of self-adaptation and self-organization, and
  • freely available for anybody to download and play with themselves.

Major kudos to Jeff Cleveland and Kyle Usbeck for the work they contributed to building the demo and also to ensuring we had a nice webpage and movie to show it off to best advantage.  Go and check it out for yourself!

Self-Stabilizing Team Formation Demo at SASO

This afternoon at the IEEE SASO 2012 conference, we're giving a demonstration of self-stabilizing robot team formation algorithms built in Proto.  You can also see it all online and get the code as well at: http://proto.bbn.com/saso2012/

Pretty BioCompiler GRN Diagrams

[Crossposted from jakebeal.blogspot.com]

One of the pieces of work I'm rather proud of is my Proto BioCompiler.  Back in 2008, as I was hanging around at the synthetic biology lunches at MIT, I realized that there was a nice tight mapping between the genetic regulatory network diagrams that the biologists were drawing and the dataflow computation graphs that I was using to express the semantics of Proto.  Basically, in biology you can represent a computation with a bunch of reactions evolving in parallel over continuous time, with the products of one reaction being used as the inputs for others.  Similarly, in Proto my model of computing had a bunch of operations evolving in parallel over continuous space and time, with the outputs of one operation being used as the inputs for others.

Actually Programming Cells with Proto

Coming out of the Amorphous Computing project at MIT, Proto was always inspired by biological organisms and the ability of cells to work together to form complex patterns.  Then we found ways that it might be able to map to genetic regulatory networks for controlling cells, and built the BioCompiler as an alternate code emitter, rendering into a genetic regulatory network instead of virtual machine instructions.

Coordination Languages vs. Proto

[Crossposted from my blog]

Got an interesting new paper for you folks, a little bit into a different space than the last few: Linda in Space-Time: An Adaptive Coordination Model for Mobile Ad-Hoc Environments.  This was just published in Coordination 2012, and is another collaboration with Mirko Viroli, who really did the bulk of work in the paper --- my last author position means "consultant" rather than "supervisor" on this one (on a completely side note, it bugs me that the semantics of author position are so ill-defined, but that's a post for another time...).

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