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July 18, 2006

Lost in (Deep) Space: CommerceNet at JPL Communications Workshop

Conferences, Lab News

[Update: Slides on Agoric Exploration now available, in Keynote and PowerPoint format also.]

No, it’s not (yet) time for Martian explorers to purchase digital music downloads as the new frontier in e-Commerce. CommerceNet Labs research has been invited, though, to particpate in a Deep Space Communications workshop at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories during the Second IEEE International Conference on Space Mission Challenges for Information Technology from July 17-20 at the Pasadena Conference Center.

We’ll be speaking about the potential of market-based control mechanisms for allocating scarce resources amongst competing mission priorities that require choreography of assets across multiple agencies. We wrote a short introductory proposal with Prof. Richard N. Taylor for a NASA resarch program back in 2004, and while we’re far, far from expert at deep space communication, we are excited about 1) agoric control and 2) decentralized software architecture.

While somewhat tutorial in nature, we’ll plan to tailor it to the level of experience our audience has had with concepts such as the economics of uncertainty, prediction markets, markets for workplace decision making (Zocalo), and using event-based architectural styles to synchronize multiple devices/platforms. Other aspects of the problem we hope to point at are: the difficulty of underwriting “units” of currency for diverse assets (some camera time with some bandwidth at the same time vs. some storage and processing (compression) and bandwidth later on), scheduling results from grid computing such as Tycoon, and related efforts in general-game playing (AI) and trading agent competitions.

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