Features Interaction Detection and Resolution in Smart home systems Using Agent-Based Negotiation Approach
Smart home systems (SHS) have become an increasingly important technology in modern life. Apart from safety, security, convenience and entertainment, they offer significant potential benefits for the elderly, disabled and others who cannot live independently. Furthermore, smart homes are environmentally friendly. SHS functionality is based on perceiving residents’ needs and desires, then offering services accordingly. In order to be smart, homes have to be equipped with sensors, actuators and intelligent devices and appliances, as well as connectivity and control mechanisms. A typical SHS comprises heterogeneous services and appliances that are designed by many different developers and which may meet for the first time in the home network. The heterogeneous nature of the systems, in addition to the dynamic environment in which they are deployed, exposes them to undesirable interactions between services, known as Feature Interaction (FI). Another reason for FI is the divergence between the policies, needs and desires of different residents. Proposed approaches to FI detection and resolution should take these different types of interaction into account. Negotiation is an effective mechanism to address FI, as conflicting features can then negotiate with each other to reach a compromise agreement. The ultimate goal of this study is to develop an Agent-Based Negotiation Approach (ABNA) to detect and resolve feature interaction in a SHS. A smart home architecture incorporating the components of the ABNA has been proposed. The backbone of the proposed approach is a hierarchy in which features are organised according to their importance in terms of their functional contribution to the overall service. Thus, features are categorised according to their priority, those which are essential for the service to function having the highest priority. An agent model of the ABNA is proposed and comprehensive definitions of its components are presented. A computational model of the system also has been proposed which is used to explain the behaviour of different components when a proposal to perform a task is raised. To clarify the system requirements and also to aid the design and implementation of its properties, a formal specification of the ABNA is presented using the mathematical notations of Calculus of Context-aware Ambient (CCA), then in order to evaluate the approach a case study is reported, involving two services within the SHS: ventilation and air conditioning. For the purpose of evaluation, the execution environment of CCA is utilised to execute and analyse the ABNA.
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