A Multi-Agent Systems Approach to Autonomic Computing

The goal of autonomic computing is to create computing systems capable of managing themselves to a far greater extent than they do today. This paper presents Unity, a decentralized architecture for autonomic computing based on multiple interacting agents called autonomic elements. We illustrate how the Unity architecture realizes a number of desired autonomic system behaviors including goal-driven self-assembly, self-healing, and real-time self-optimization. We then present a realistic prototype implementation, showing how a collection of Unity elements self-assembles, recovers from certain classes of faults, and manages the use of computational resources (e.g. servers) in a dynamic multi-application environment. In Unity, an autonomic element within each application environment computes a resource-level utility function based on information specified in that application’s service-level utility function. Resource-level utility functions from multiple application environments are sent to a Resource Arbiter element, which computes a globally optimal allocation of servers across the applications. We present illustrative empirical data showing the behavior of our implemented system in handling realistic Web-based transactional workloads running on a Linux cluster.

By: Gerald Tesauro, David M. Chess, William E. Walsh, Rajarshi Das, Alla Segal, Ian Whalley, Jeffrey O. Kephart, Steve R. White

Published in: RC23357 in 2004


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