The population protocol model (PP) proposed by Angluin et al.  describes sensor networks consisting of passively mobile finite-state agents. The agents sense their environment and communicate in pairs to carry out some computation on the sensed values. The mediated population protocol model (MPP)  extended the PP model by communication links equipped with a constant size buffer. The MPP model was proved in  to be stronger than the PP model. However, its most important contribution is that it provides us with the ability to devise optimizing protocols, approximation protocols and protocols that decide properties of the communication graph on which they run. The latter case, suggests a simplified model, the GDM model, that was formally defined and studied in . GDM is a special case of MPP that captures MPP's ability to decide properties of the communication graph. Here we survey recent advances in the area initiated by the proposal of the PP model and at the same time we provide new protocols, novel ideas and results.