Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Self-organisation in ant-based peer-to-peer systems
Author: Paul, Richard
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
Peer-to-peer systems are a highly decentralised form of distributed computing, which has advantages of robustness and redundancy over more centralised systems. When the peer-to-peer system has a stable and static population of nodes, variations and bursts in traffic levels cause momentary levels of congestion in the system, which have to be dealt with by routing policies implemented within the peer-to-peer system in order to maintain efficient and effective routes. Peer-to-peer systems, however, are dynamic in nature, as they exhibit churn, i.e. nodes enter and leave the system during their use. This dynamic nature makes it difficult to identify consistent routing policies that ensure a reasonable proportion of traffic in the system is routed successfully to its destination. Studies have shown that chum in peer-to-peer systems is difficult to model and characterise, and further, is difficult to manage. The task of creating and maintaining efficient routes and network topologies in dynamic environments, such as those described above, is one of dynamic optimisation. Complex adaptive systems such as ant colony optimisation and genetic algorithms have been shown to display adaptive properties in dynamic environments. Although complex adaptive systems have been applied to a small number of dynamic optimisation problems, their application to dynamic optimisation problems is new in general and also application to routing in dynamic environments is new. Further, the problem characteristics and conditions under which these algorithms perform well, and the reasons for doing so, are not yet fully understood. The assessment of how good the complex adaptive systems are at creating solutions to the dynamic routing optimisation problem detailed above is dependent on the metrics used to make the measurements. A contribution of this thesis is the development of a theoretical framework within which we can analyse the behaviours and responses of any peer-to-peer system. We do this by considering a peer-to-peer system to be a graph generating algorithm, which has input parameters and has outputs which can be measured using topological metrics and statistics that characterise the traffic through the network. Specifically, we consider the behaviour of an ant-based peer-topeer system and we have designed and implemented an ant-based peer-to-peer simulator to enable this. Recently methods for characterising graphs by their scaling properties have been developed and a small number of distinct categories of graphs have been identified (such as random graphs, lattices, small world graphs, and scale-free graphs). These graph characterisation methods have also enabled the creation of new metrics to enable measurements of properties of the graphs belonging to different categories. We use these new graph characterisation techniques mentioned above and the associated metrics to implement a systematic approach to the analysis of the behaviour of our ant peer-topeer system. We present the results of a number of simulation runs of our system initiated with a range of values of key parameters. The resulting networks are then analysed from both the point of view of traffic statistics, and also topological metrics. Three sets of experiments have been designed and conducted using the simulator created during this project. The first set, equilibrium experiments, consider the behaviour of the system when the number of operational nodes in the system is constant and also the demand placed on the system is constant. The second set of experiments considers the changes that occur when there are bursts in traffic levels or the demand placed on the system. The final set considers the effect of churn in the system, where nodes enter and leave the system during its operation. In crafting the experiments we have been able to identify many of the major control parameters of the ant-based peer-to-peer system. A further contribution of this thesis is the results of the experiments which show that under conditions of network congestion the ant peer-to-peer system becomes very brittle. This is characterised by small average path lengths, a low proportion of ants successfully getting through to their destination node, and also a low average degree of the nodes in the network. This brittleness is made worse when nodes fail and also when the demand applied to the system changes abruptly. A further contribution of this thesis is the creation of a method of ranking the topology of a network with respect to a target topology. This method can be used as the basis for topological control (i.e. the distributed self-assembly of network topologies within a peer-to-peer system that have desired topological properties) and assessing how best to modify a topology in order to move it closer to the desired (or reference) topology. We use this method when measuring the outcome of our experiments to determine how far the resulting graph is from a random graph. In principle this method could be used to measure the distance of the graph of the peer-to-peer network from any reference topology (e.g. a lattice or a tree). A final contribution of this thesis is the definition of a distributed routing policy which uses a measure of confidence that nodes in the system are in an operational state when making calculations regarding onward routing. The method of implementing the routing algorithm within the ant peer-to-peer system has been specified, although this has not been implemented within this thesis. It is conjectured that this algorithm would improve the performance of the ant peer-to-peer system under conditions of churn. The main question this thesis is concerned with is how the behaviour of the ant-based peer-to-peer system can best be measured using a simulation-based approach, and how these measurables can be used to control and optimise the performance of the ant-based peer-to-peer system in conditions of equilibrium, and also non-equilibrium (specifically varying levels of bursts in traffic demand, and also varying rates of nodes entering and leaving the peer-to-peer system).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available