• GIScience 2012 Tutorial

    Decentralized spatial computing with NetLogo agent-based simulation

    GIScience 2012Organizer: Matt Duckham

    Date: 18 September 2012, 12:30-16:00.

    Location: Round Meeting Room, The Ohio Union, GIScience 2012, Columbus OH, US.

    Getting there: Chartered bus leaving Sheraton 07:00 and again at 07:30, returning 16:00 and again 16:30. There is also a public transit (COTA) #2 bus running North-South on High Street every 5-10 minutes. The Union is right by a bus stop and the hotel is just a short walk from the same bus line. One-way fare is $2 (exact change).

    Topic: Decentralized computing is used in spatial information systems that have no single controller or information repository (like groups of smartphones, vehicle ad-hoc networks, and geosensor networks). This tutorial will cover how to design, build, simulate, and test decentralized spatial algorithms.

    In addition to covering the fundamental concepts behind decentralized spatial computing, the tutorial is designed to be a practical introduction to agent-based simulation of decentralized spatial algorithms, and the geographic environments in which distributed spatial information systems operate. The simulation system used will be NetLogo, a powerful and intuitive agent-based simulation system that has a wide range of applications in geographic information science, and a growing user community. The tutorial will cover examples of algorithms for wide range of classes of spatial and spatiotemporal problems, from querying topological relations between regions monitored by a geosensor network, to identification of meaningful movement patterns in groups of individuals with location-aware mobile devices.

    Background: Some background or interest in programming, agent-based simulation, and/or discrete mathematics (sets, relations, functions, graphs) would be an advantage, but is not required.

    Materials: Participants are advised to bring their own laptops, and to download and install the NetLogo simulation system (http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/) in advance of the tutorial (version 5.0). Participants are also asked to download the full codebase to accompany the book.

    Outline: After the tutorial participants should expect to be able to:

    • Identify the defining characteristics of decentralized spatial algorithms and distinguish between problems that do/do not require decentralized capabilities.
    • Use the NetLogo system to simulate, test, and empirically compare decentralized spatial algorithms, and the geographic environments in which they operate.
    • Understand and even begin to specify decentralized spatial algorithm designs, using standard techniques from the field of distributed systems.

    The key course elements are:

    • Introduction to decentralized spatial computing
    • Getting to know the NetLogo agent-based simulation system
    • Designing, specifying, and testing decentralized spatial algorithms
    • Conclusions and wrap-up

    Three (draft) “one-pager” tutorial sheets are downloadable below. In addition, copies of the Springer book “Decentralized Spatial Computing”, to be published soon, will be available at the tutorial, providing ample background material and example protocols. Every one of more than 40 decentralized algorithms described in the book, has been implemented as a NetLogo simulation model, and will be available at the tutorial. The first of these protocols are already available to browse and test via this web site: try searching for “NetLogo” or click on the “NetLogo” category on the right.

    The latest version of slides for the tutorial can be viewed as they are being developed.

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