Since its widespread diffusion in the late 1990s, Internet keeps changing the way we solve problems, the way we work and interact with other people, and ultimately our lives. Tasks that a few years ago required time, money, and specific skills, now can be fulfilled in a few seconds, at negligible costs, and from everyone with an Internet access.
The innovation driven by the Internet seems far from being draining away, also thanks to the new mobile technologies which allow people to stay connected everywhere and everytime. The growing popularity of Web 2.0 software infrastructures, like bulletin boards, blogs, social networks, etc., has fostered the creation of huge communities, inducing a giant leap in the way people behave and interact. At the same time, the Internet has been populated by an incredible number and variety of computational services and agents, which can be suitably composed to build complex distributed applications.
These networks of people and software agents can be seen as “computational societies”, which share many of the characteristics of human societies: agent heterogeneity, conflicting individual goals, unpredictable behaviour, context-awareness, emotional and relational issues.
In this context, our research aims at exploiting the new opportunities offered by computational societies, to:
- analyse existing computational societies, so to discover which properties they enjoy. In particular, our focus is on reliability, security and privacy properties.
- build sound theoretical foundations to model and analyse computational societies.
- investigate new possibilities of interactions.
- solve new and interesting problems, taking advantage of the massive amount of computational resources and of information available.
- devise new algorithms for sharing information in a computational society, while minimizing the information overload.
Our research methodology follows two main principles:
- building upon theoretical foundations
- experimenting with real computational societies.