In the near future, it is reasonable to expect that new types of systems will appear, of massive scale, expansive and permeating their environment, of very heterogeneous nature, and operating in a constantly changing networked environment. We expect that most such systems will have the form of a very large society of unimpressive networked artefacts. Yet by cooperation, they will be organized in large societies to accomplish tasks that are difficult or beyond the capabilities of todays conventional centralized systems.
The Population Protocol model of Angluin et. al. introduced a novel approach towards the study of such systems by assuming that each artefact is an agent, so limited, that can be represented as a finite-state sensor of constant (O(1)) total storage capacity. Such agents are passively mobile and communicate in pairs using a low-power wireless signal. It has been proven that, although such systems consist of extremely limited, cheap and bulk-produced hardware devices, they are still capable of carrying out very useful nontrivial computations. Based on this approach we investigate many new intriguing directions.