Distributed Systems Engineering

Journal Information
ISSN / EISSN : 0967-1846 / 1361-6390
Published by: IOP Publishing (10.1088)
Total articles ≅ 143
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Published: 1 December 1999
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/4/001

Abstract:
Distributed Systems Engineering has proved a valuable resource for those involved in the applied aspects of distributed and networked systems engineering. However, even during the life of the journal, what was once a niche area of research has undergone tremendous development, both technically and academically. The emphasis of the subject has shifted to such an extent that the positioning of the journal is now inappropriate. This then is the final issue of Distributed Systems Engineering, as the journal ceases publication at the end of 1999. The publication of Distributed Systems Engineering also represented a major step forward for three of the UK's leading learned societies, in pursuing a common interest in distributed engineering. Distributed Systems Engineering has been instrumental in bringing these organizations together on a number of other issues of mutual interest. We thank all those who have submitted papers, whether published or not, during the lifetime of our journal. To our Editorial Advisory Board, Guest Editors and the many referees who have supported this endeavour we owe a special debt of gratitude. And of course we are grateful to the readers of Distributed Systems Engineering for their support and for many kind comments during the past six years. To all of you we say: your many and various contributions have helped to make the journal an important source of information for those involved in the practical engineering aspects of distributed and networked systems. The publishers would like to thank the Editors, Morris Sloman and David Hutchison, and the members of the Editorial Board, whose commitment to the journal has resulted in the publication of consistently high quality research, including a number of commissioned special issues in areas of topical interest. As a service to the distributed systems community, the full electronic archive of the journal will be maintained, with free availability to all, at http://www.iop.org/Journals/ds David HutchisonMorris SlomanThe British Computer SocietyThe Institution of Electrical EngineersInstitute of Physics Publishing
Anne-Louise Burness, Richard Titmuss, Caroline Lebre, Katie Brown, Alan Brookland
Published: 1 December 1999
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 129-134; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/4/302

Abstract:
The use of new computing paradigms is intended to ease the design of complex systems. However, the non-functional aspects of a system, including performance, reliability and scalability, remain significant issues. It is hard to detect and correct many scalability problems through system testing alone - especially when the problems are rooted in the higher levels of the system design. Late corrections to the system can have serious implications for the clarity of the design and code. We have analysed the design of a system of multiple near-identical, `reactive' agents for scalability. We believe that the approach taken is readily applicable to many object oriented systems, and may form the basis of a rigorous design methodology. It is a simple, yet scientific extension to current design techniques using message sequence charts, enabling design options to be compared quantitatively rather than qualitatively. Our experience suggests that such analysis should be used to consider the effect of artificial intelligence, to ensure that autonomous behaviour has an overall beneficial effect for system performance.
Published: 1 December 1999
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 135-148; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/4/303

Abstract:
In this paper we present an approach to support interoperation between autonomous database systems. In particular, we concentrate on distributed information discovery and access for systems with a large number of databases. We avoid the need for integrated global schemas or centralized structures containing information on the available data and its location. We instead provide an architecture that supports data distribution, autonomy and heterogeneity. The architecture also supports system evolution by the addition and removal of databases. A distributed information discovery algorithm is provided to perform data requests, database location and data access. A feature of our approach is to distribute the information about database contents using simple hierarchical information structures composed of special terms. A prototype has been developed to demonstrate and evaluate the approach. A hospital case study is used to illustrate its feasibility and applicability.
M A Iverson, F Özgüner
Published: 1 September 1999
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 112-120; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/3/303

Abstract:
With the advent of large-scale heterogeneous environments, there is a need for matching and scheduling algorithms which can allow multiple, directed acyclic graph structured applications to share the computational resources of the network. This paper presents a hierarchical matching and scheduling framework where multiple applications compete for the computational resources on the network. In this environment, each application makes its own scheduling decisions. Thus, no centralized scheduling resource is required. Applications do not need direct knowledge of the other applications - knowledge of other applications arrives indirectly through load estimates (like queue lengths). This paper presents an algorithm, called the dynamic hierarchical scheduling algorithm, which schedules tasks within this framework. A series of simulations are presented to examine the performance of these algorithms in this environment, compared with a more conventional, single-user environment.
M Raynal, F Tronel
Published: 1 September 1999
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 95-102; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/3/301

Abstract:
A group membership failure (in short, a group failure) occurs when one of the group members crashes. A group failure detection protocol has to inform all the non-crashed members of the group that this group entity has crashed. Ideally, such a protocol should be live (if a process crashes, then the group failure has to be detected) and safe (if a group failure is claimed, then at least one process has crashed). Unreliable asynchronous distributed systems are characterized by the impossibility for a process to get an accurate view of the system state. Consequently, the design of a group failure detection protocol that is both safe and live is a problem that cannot be solved in all runs of an asynchronous distributed system. This paper analyses a group failure detection protocol whose design naturally ensures its liveness. We show that by appropriately tuning some of its duration-related parameters, the safety property can be guaranteed with a probability as close to one as desired. This analysis shows that, in real distributed systems, it is possible to achieve failure detection with a negligible probability of wrong suspicions.
Mustaque Ahamad, , Gérard Thia-Kime
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 63-70; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/2/301

Abstract:
This paper explores causally consistent distributed services when multiple related services are replicated to meet performance and availability requirements. This consistency criterion is particularly well suited for distributed services such as cooperative document sharing, and it is attractive because of the efficient implementations that are allowed by it. A new protocol for implementing causally consistent services is presented. It allows service instances to be created and deleted dynamically according to service access patterns in the distributed system. It also handles the case where different but related services are replicated independently. Another novel aspect of this protocol lies in its ability to use both push and pull mechanisms for disseminating updates to objects that encapsulate service state.
, , , Robbert Van Renesse
Distributed Systems Engineering, Volume 6, pp 71-81; https://doi.org/10.1088/0967-1846/6/2/302

Abstract:
In this paper, we propose the hierarchical daisy architecture, which provides causal delivery of messages sent to any subset of processes. The architecture provides fault tolerance and maintains the amount of control information within a reasonable size. It divides processes into logical groups. Messages inside a logical group are sent directly, while messages that need to cross logical groups' boundaries are forwarded by servers. We prove the correctness of the daisy architecture, discuss possible optimizations, and present simulation results.
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