Document (#33870)

Author
Reed, G.M.
Sanders, J.W.
Title
¬The principle of distribution
Source
Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 59(2008) no.7, S.1134-1142
Year
2008
Abstract
This article introduces a normative principle for the behavior of contemporary computing and communication systems and considers some of its consequences. The principle, named the principle of distribution, says that in a distributed multi-agent system, control resides as much as possible with the individuals constituting the system rather than in centralized agents; and when that is unfeasible or becomes inappropriate due to environmental changes, control evolves upwards from the individuals to an appropriate intermediate level rather than being imposed from above. The setting for the work is the dynamically changing global space resulting from ubiquitous communication. Accordingly, the article begins by determining the characteristics of the distributed multi-agent space it spans. It then fleshes out the principle of distribution, with examples from daily life as well as from Computer Science. The case is made for the principle of distribution to work at various levels of abstraction of system behavior: to inform the high-level discussion that ought to precede the more low-level concerns of technology, protocols, and standardization, but also to facilitate those lower levels. Of the more substantial applications given here of the principle of distribution, a technical example concerns the design of secure ad hoc networks of mobile devices, achievable without any form of centralized authentication or identification but in a solely distributed manner. Here, the context is how the principle can be used to provide new and provably secure protocols for genuinely ubiquitous communication. A second, more managerial example concerns the distributed production and management of open-source software, and a third investigates some pertinent questions involving the dynamic restructuring of control in distributed systems, important in times of disaster or malevolence.
Footnote
Beitrag innerhalb eines Themenschwerpunkts: Perspectives on global information ethics
Theme
Informationsethik

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