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A hybrid real-time agent platform for fault-tolerant, embedded applications

Erlank, Alex and Bridges, Christopher (2017) A hybrid real-time agent platform for fault-tolerant, embedded applications Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 32 (2). pp. 252-274.

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This paper describes an agent platform based on the Foundation for Intelligent Physical Systems Abstract Architecture, which, together with a highly fault tolerant, bio-inspired hardware architecture, aims to increase the reliability of future, low-cost satellites. To achieve the stringent operational requirements imposed by the real-time and resource-constrained environment of a satellite, the Hybrid Agent Real-Time Platform (HARP) distinguishes itself from other platforms in three areas. Firstly, the HARP middleware uses discrete processors, instead of virtual machines or interpreters, as its agent execution environment. This has the advantage of reducing the agency memory footprint and enabling agents to perform real-time tasks. Secondly, the HARP communication stack makes use of ISO-TP over CAN 2.0A as its transfer level protocol, cutting out resource-intensive layers such as HTTP and IIOP. In addition, the communication stack allows real-time CAN traffic to share the network and be given priority over Agent Communication Language messages. Finally, the HARP middleware embeds a peer-to-peer task manager in each agency, allowing systems which are built using the bio-inspired Artificial Stem Cell Architecture and HARP middleware to autonomously reconfigure in the event of failures. The detailed design of the HARP middleware is given, together with details of an implementation of the HARP middleware on a set of prototype satellite hardware. The performance and scaling potential of the middleware, determined through a set of physical experiments, provide evidence of the practical feasibility of the proposed architecture.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences > Electronic Engineering
Authors :
Date : 17 November 2017
DOI : 10.1007/s10458-017-9378-4
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Fault tolerance Multi-agent systems Real-time Satellites Bio-inspired
Depositing User : Melanie Hughes
Date Deposited : 21 Sep 2018 11:32
Last Modified : 21 Sep 2018 11:32

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