Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University


Challenges of ULS systems

Fundamental gaps in our current understanding of software  and software development at the scale of ULS systems present profound  impediments to the technically and economically effective achievement of  information superiority. These gaps are strategic, not tactical. They are  unlikely to be addressed adequately by incremental research within established  categories. Rather, we require a broad new conception of both the nature of  such systems and new ideas for how to develop them. We will need to look at  them differently, not just as systems or systems of systems, but as  socio-technical ecosystems. We will face fundamental challenges in the design  and evolution, orchestration and control, and monitoring and assessment of ULS  systems. These challenges require breakthrough research.


The ULS System Research Agenda presented in Ultra-Large-Scale  Systems: The Software Challenge of the Future provided the  starting point for the path ahead. The study proposed a ULS systems research  agenda for an interdisciplinary portfolio of research in at least the following  areas:

  • Human Interaction
  • Computational Emergence
  • Design
  • Computational Engineering
  • Adaptive System Infrastructure
  • Adaptable and Predictable System Quality
  • Policy, Acquisition, and Management

Socio-adaptive systems focus on the effects of the human element in a system. Specifically, socio-adaptive systems refer to large-scale systems comprising distributed system resources such as processors and wireless networks. Humans rely on these resources to carry out missions. Continuous change in the network coupled with changing needs of missions supported by the system pose challenges. Additionally, appropriate responses to changing needs rely on the expressed needs of humans. Therefore, factors such as human self-interest must be accounted for in system design.

Our research in socio-adaptive systems involves

  • developing new resource-allocation techniques for mobile ad hoc networks
  • applying market mechanisms to ensure efficient resource reallocation in continuously changing tactical settings

Learn more about our Socio-Adaptive Systems project.