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Distributed Watchpoints: Debugging Large Multi-Robot Systems

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1982 by Michael De Rosa, Jason Campbell, Padmanabhan Pillai, Seth C. Goldstein, Peter Lee, Todd C. Mowbry
Tightly-coupled multi-agent systems such as modular robots frequently exhibit properties of interest that span multiple modules. These properties cannot easily be detected from any single module, though they might readily be detected by combining the knowledge of multiple modules. Testing for distributed conditions is especially important in debugging or verifying the correctness of software for modular robots. We have developed a technique we call distributed watchpoint triggers which can efficiently recognize such distributed conditions. Our watchpoint description language can handle a variety of temporal, spatial, and logical properties spanning multiple robots. This paper presents that language, describes our fully-distributed, online mechanism for detecting distributed conditions in a running system, and evaluates the performance of our implementation. We found that the performance of the system is highly dependent on the program being debugged, scales linearly with ensemble size, and is small enough to make the system practical in all but the worst case scenarios


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