Self-Healing Protocols Project home page

Project Description

The goal of this research project is to develop protocol implementations with inherent self-healing functionality. We wish to obtain intrinsically robust protocol implementations where errors can occur in the "core" protocol implementation as well as in the detection and correction part. The software must be able to detect and replace misbehaving software parts at run time, while continuing to provide the service, although perhaps less efficiently during the transitory repair phase.

In todays protocols, these activities are mostly handled manually, where network managers monitor the network for anomalous performance or react on user complaints about service disruptions. Resilient and self-healing protocols would enable safe automated installation of new protocols, protocol upgrade, run-time customization of protocols to adapt to different network situations, distributed protocol implementations in sensor networks and using small and potentially unreliable components like spray computers, but also at the application level where management protocols must provide continuous and resilient network services.

This project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF).


We are currently looking for bio-inspired methods to obtain self-healing properties for software modules. Biological systems are inherently robust to external perturbation and to failure of its constituent parts. At the molecular level in cells, biochemical reaction networks are responsible for maintaining the various cellular functions by autocatalytic reactions.

Currently, we explore how to build autocatalytic computer programs. We hope that the resulting software will show similar emergent self-healing properties like in biological systems. The basic idea is to group instructions in autocatalytic sets that constantly rewrite themselves. After successful execution of a certain operation, the operation replicates itself. Like this, successful operations are able to survive whereas defective operations are eventually replaced by the growing population of correct ones.

We are using the Fraglets language as a tool to carry out initial experiments. Fraglets implements a chemical reaction model where computations are carried out by having code and data "react" with each other.


Thomas Meyer
Christian Tschudin
Lidia Yamamoto


Thomas Meyer, Christian Tschudin: "Robust Network Services with Distributed Code Rewriting"
In: Lio, P.; Verma, D.C. (Eds.), Biologically Inspired Networking and Sensing: Algorithms and Architectures,
IGI Global, ISBN 978-1-61350-092-7, 2012.


Thomas Meyer, Christian Tschudin:
"Flow Management in Packet Networks Through Interacting Queues and Law-of-Mass-Action Scheduling"
Technical Report, CS-2011-001, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Basel, 2011.


Thomas Meyer: "On Chemical and Self-Healing Networking Protocols"
PhD Thesis, University of Basel, 2011.


Thomas Meyer, Christian Tschudin: "Competition and Cooperation of Self-Healing Software"
Technical Report, CS-2010-004, CS Department, University of Basel, 2010.


Thomas Meyer, Christian Tschudin: "Self-Organizing Code-Level Redundancy for Networking Protocols"
Technical Report, CS-2010-003, CS Department, University of Basel, 2010.


Lidia Yamamoto, Thomas Meyer: "Biochemically-Inspired Emergent Computation"
Artificial Immune Systems, 9th International Conference, ICARIS 2010, Edinburgh, UK, July 26-29, 2010. In LNCS vol. 6209, Hart, E.; McEwan, C.; Timmis, J.; Hone, A. (Eds.), 2010, pp. 320-321.


Christian Tschudin, Thomas Meyer: "Programming by Equilibria"
15. Kolloquium Programmiersprachen und Grundlagen der Programmierung (KPS'09), Maria Taferl, Austria, October 12-14, 2009, Ergänzungsband, pp.37-46


Thomas Meyer, Christian Tschudin: "Chemical Networking Protocols"
Proceedings of the 8th ACM Workshop on Hot Topics in Networks (HotNets-VIII), New York, NY, October 22-23, 2009.


Thomas Meyer, Lidia Yamamoto, Wolfgang Banzhaf, Christian Tschudin: "Elongation Control in an Algorithmic Chemistry"
Proceedings of the 10th European Conference on Artificial Life (ECAL 2009), Budapest, Hungary, September 14-16, 2009, In LNCS vol. 5777, Kampis, G.; Karsai, I.; Szathmáry, E. (Eds.), Springer, 2011, pp. 267-274. (in press)


Thomas Meyer, Lidia Yamamoto, Christian Tschudin: "A Self-Healing Multipath Routing Protocol"
Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems (BIONETICS 2008), November 2008.


Thomas Meyer, Daniel Schreckling, Christian Tschudin, Lidia Yamamoto: "Robustness to Code and Data Deletion in Autocatalytic Quines"
Transactions on Computational Systems Biology X. In LNBI vol. 5410, Priami, C.; Dressler, F.; Akan, O.B.; Ngom, A. (Eds.), 2008, pp. 20-40.


Thomas Meyer, Lidia Yamamoto, Christian Tschudin: "An Artificial Chemistry for Networking"
Bio-Inspired Computing and Communication, First Workshop on Bio-Inspired Design of Networks (BIOWIRE 2007), Cambridge, UK, April 2-5, 2007. In LNCS vol. 5151, Revised Papers, Lio, P.; Yoneki, E.; Crowcroft, J.; Verma, D.C. (Eds.), 2008, pp. 45-57.


Lidia Yamamoto, Daniel Schreckling, Thomas Meyer: "Self-Replicating and Self-Modifying Programs in Fraglets"
Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Bio-Inspired Models of Network, Information, and Computing Systems (BIONETICS 2007), December 2007.


Page updated: 2011-03-27, Computer Networks Group  []