Research: Dr Alessandra Russo
Email: <ar3 AT SPAMFREE doc DOT ic DOT ac DOT uk>
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My main research interests are within the general areas of Logic, Artificial Intelligence and Software Engineering. I'm particularly interested in the exploration and investigation of cross-fertilisations between Logic/Formal reasoning/AI and Software Engineering.
My research activity therefore unfolds along the following main research themes:
- Non-classical logics (in particular, modal, temporal, substractural and fuzzy).
- Labelled Deductive Systems.
- Belief revision for non-classical logics.
- Object-Oriented Formal Specification Languages.
- Abductive and inductive reasoning in classical logic - their relationships and interactions.
- Relationship between inductive learning-based revision and standard belief revision.
- Formal techniques for analysing of event-driven specifications.
- Learning techniques for extracting requirements from system scenarios.
- Formal techniques for analaysis and refinement of policy specifications.
- Argumentation-based framework for detecting and resolving inconsistencies in policy specifications.
- Evolution of systems specifications.
'Reasoning Techniques for Analysis and Refinement of Policies for Quality of Service MANagement'
- (June 2005 - February 2005)
- Policy-based management has been proposed in recent years as a suitable means for managing Quality of Service (QoS) in IP networks. The proposed visiting fellowship aims to provide abductive and argumentation-based reasoning techniques to support policy analysis and refinements in distributed system for Quality of Service Management. The development of an abductive framework for formalising policies is expected to foster several advantages for policy analysis with automatic ways of policy validation and conflict detection. In particular, the use of abduction will facilitate the task of conflict resolution by suggesting ways in which the conflicts can be avoided. This is particularly important in scenarios where an overall goal must be realised by collaborating but distinct administrative domains, each one with their own policies. For example, in IP networks end-to-end Quality of Service must be guaranteed across multiple domains with potential inconsistencies. Abduction will facilitate the identification of an appropriate set of policies for each domain that does not conflict with their exiting policies. Another example of such a situation occurs when Virtual Organisations are created in order to provide new value added services by combining services from other (virtual) organisations. This is often referred to as policy negotiation or policy reconciliation. Professor Kakas has recently worked on argumentation, together with his collaborators, as a form of preference reasoning according to given policies and applied this to agent negotiations. Argumentation in this way provides a generalisation of abduction where integrity constraints are replaced by a preference "theory of arguments". The consistency of a collection of policies can be examined by argumentative deliberation, which gives the preferred way(s) in which (distributed) policies can be consistently applied. For example, two desired properties may not both hold together in some particular special circumstances not considered at the initial time of setting out the policies. This inconsistency can be resolved by forming an argument why each property should hold, together with an appropriate priority between them. The combination of abduction and argumentation gives then a very powerful framework with enhanced capability for the automatic analysis and refinement of policies
- EPSRC Visiting Fellowship
- (March 2004 - February 2007)
Policy-based management has been proposed in recent years as a suitable means for managing Quality of Service (QoS) in IP networks. Yet despite research projects, standardisation efforts, and substantial interest from industry, policy-based management is still not a reality. One of the reasons for the reticence to adopt this technology is that it is difficult to analyse policies to determine that they will actually work, given the capabilities of managed network devices, and to guarantee the stability of the network configuration, given that policies may have conflicts leading to unpredictable effects. This project aims to address the challenges of policy analysis, policy validation and policy refinement within the specific application domain of Quality of Service for IP networks. Policy analysis includes the ability to check for conflicts in the presence of constraints on the state of the system and identify precisely the sequence of events which would lead to a conflict as well as the ability to check that certain properties are satisfied when a given set of policies is applied. Policy validation relates to the ability to determine whether a given set of policies can actually be implemented on a network configuration given the characteristics of the devices and the traffic profiles. Policy refinement represents the ability to derive lower-level more concrete policies from higher level goals expressed in organisational policies and service level agreements (SLA). Policy refinement cannot be fully automated and the problem is extremely difficult to solve in the general case. We will develop an approach to partially automate this process through the identification and instantiation of domain specific refinement patterns of management policies, which will probably depend on the characteristics of the network devices and of the network itself. More specifically the project is targeted at Differentiated Services (DiffServ) in MPLS environments. In addition we will investigate other application domains such as security and ubiquitous e-health in related projects. To achieve these goals it is necessary to combine formal reasoning techniques with policy-based management approaches and domain specific knowledge on QoS in IP networks. In particular this project aims to provide a holistic approach by combining the analysis and refinement aspects with the design, extension and improvement of the QoS framework developed at the University of Surrey. This will not only provide a framework in which the results of the project can be validated through actual implementation on a testbed but also a framework where it will be possible to explore the limits of policy-based programmability of networks. The project will identify which parts of the QoS management framework can be implemented through a policy-based control and which parts and algorithms are better provided through intelligence within managed objects.
- (February 2004 - August 2007)
- TrustCoM will develop a framework for trust, security and contract management in dynamically-evolving virtual organisations. The framework will enable secure collaborative business process management and sharing in an on-demand, self-managed, dynamic value-chains of businesses and governments. The framework will leverage and extend the emerging convergence of open-standards such as Web Services, Grid technologies and protocols for inter-enterprise interactions (using open agent protocols).
- (August 2002 - July 2007)
- This is a 5 year Platform Grant proposal to support personnel and travel for the Distributed Software Engineering Group within the Department of Computing, Imperial College. This is a world-renowned group which combines practical work on building tools for design and implementation of adaptive distributed systems and networks with more formal software engineering approaches to behaviour modelling, requirements specification, language semantics and type systems for distributed programming. This proposal will provide support for cohesion and continuity of funding for a range of projects based on a sound Software Engineering approach to adaptive software environments, policy and security and requirements engineering for ubiquitous computing systems. The proposal will also partially fund an experienced researcher to coordinate the effort required for packaging and maintaining experimental software to make it more accessible to external academic and industrial users. The recent international review of UK Computing Science specifically identified the need for this type of activity.
Current PhD Students
William Heaven (March 2003 -)
- Working on Patterns of Analysis and Change Management for an Object-oriented Program Specification Language
Dalal Alrajeh (October 2005 -)
- Working on Extracting Software Requirements from Scenarios
Past PhD Students
Oliver Ray (October 2001 - December 2005)
- Hybrid Abductive Inductive Learning
Arosha Bandara (October 2001 - October 2005)
- A Formal Approach to Analysis and Refinement of Policies