A self-integration testbed for decentralized socio-technical systems

F. Fanitabasi, E. Gaere, E. Pournaras

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2020 The AuthorsThe Internet of Things (IoT) comes along with new challenges for experimenting, testing, and operating decentralized socio-technical systems at large-scale. In such systems, autonomous agents interact locally with their users, and remotely with other agents to make intelligent collective choices. Via these interactions they self-regulate the consumption and production of distributed (common) resources, e.g., self-management of traffic flows and power demand in Smart Cities. While such complex systems are often deployed and operated using centralized computing infrastructures, the socio-technical nature of these decentralized systems requires new value-sensitive design paradigms; empowering trust, transparency, and alignment with citizens’ social values, such as privacy preservation, autonomy, and fairness among citizens’ choices. Currently, instruments and tools to study such systems and guide the prototyping process from simulation, to live deployment, and ultimately to a robust operation of a high Technology Readiness Level (TRL) are missing, or not practical in this distributed socio-technical context. This paper bridges this gap by introducing a novel testbed architecture for decentralized socio-technical systems running on IoT. This new architecture is designed for a seamless reusability of (i) application-independent decentralized services by an IoT application, and (ii) different IoT applications by the same decentralized service. This dual self-integration promises IoT applications that are simpler to prototype, and can interoperate with decentralized services during runtime to self-integrate more complex functionality, e.g., data analytics, distributed artificial intelligence. Additionally, such integration provides stronger validation of IoT applications, and improves resource utilization, as computational resources are shared, thus cutting down deployment and operational costs. Pressure and crash tests during continuous operations of several weeks, with more than 80K network joining and leaving of agents, 2.4M parameter changes, and 100M communicated messages, confirm the robustness and practicality of the testbed architecture. This work promises new pathways for managing the prototyping and deployment complexity of decentralized socio-technical systems running on IoT, whose complexity has so far hindered the adoption of value-sensitive self-management approaches in Smart Cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-555
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


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