Digital Ecosystems: Evolving Service-Oriented Architectures

G. Briscoe, P. De Wilde

We view Digital Ecosystems to be the digital counterparts of biological ecosystems, exploiting the self-organising properties of biological ecosystems, which are considered to be robust, self-organising and scalable architectures that can automatically solve complex, dynamic problems. Digital Ecosystems are a novel optimisation technique where the optimisation works at two levels: a first optimisation, migration of agents (representing services) which are distributed in a decentralised peer-to-peer network, operating continuously in time; this process feeds a second optimisation based on evolutionary computing that operates locally on single peers and is aimed at finding solutions to satisfy locally relevant constraints. We created an Ecosystem-Oriented Architecture of Digital Ecosystems by extending Service-Oriented Architectures with distributed evolutionary computing, allowing services to recombine and evolve over time, constantly seeking to improve their effectiveness for the user base. Individuals within our Digital Ecosystem will be applications (groups of services), created in response to user requests by using evolutionary optimisation to aggregate the services. These individuals will migrate through the Digital Ecosystem and adapt to find niches where they are useful in fulfilling other user requests for applications. Simulation results imply that the Digital Ecosystem performs better at large scales than a comparable Service-Oriented Architecture, suggesting that incorporating ideas from theoretical ecology can contribute to useful self-organising properties in digital ecosystems.

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