Waggle: A Framework for Intelligent Attentive Sensing and Actuation

Monday, 15 December 2014
Rajesh Sankaran, Robert L Jacob, Peter H Beckman, Charles E Catlett and Katarzyna Keahey, Argonne National Laboratory, Argonne, IL, United States
Advances in sensor-driven computation and computationally steered sensing will greatly enable future research in fields including environmental and atmospheric sciences. We will present “Waggle,” an open-source hardware and software infrastructure developed with two goals: (1) reducing the separation and latency between sensing and computing and (2) improving the reliability and longevity of sensing-actuation platforms in challenging and costly deployments. Inspired by “deep-space probe” systems, the Waggle platform design includes features that can support longitudinal studies, deployments with varying communication links, and remote management capabilities. Waggle lowers the barrier for scientists to incorporate real-time data from their sensors into their computations and to manipulate the sensors or provide feedback through actuators. A standardized software and hardware design allows quick addition of new sensors/actuators and associated software in the nodes and enables them to be coupled with computational codes both insitu and on external compute infrastructure. The Waggle framework currently drives the deployment of two observational systems – a portable and self-sufficient weather platform for study of small-scale effects in Chicago's urban core and an open-ended distributed instrument in Chicago that aims to support several research pursuits across a broad range of disciplines including urban planning, microbiology and computer science. Built around open-source software, hardware, and Linux OS, the Waggle system comprises two components – the Waggle field-node and Waggle cloud-computing infrastructure. Waggle field-node affords a modular, scalable, fault-tolerant, secure, and extensible platform for hosting sensors and actuators in the field. It supports insitu computation and data storage, and integration with cloud-computing infrastructure. The Waggle cloud infrastructure is designed with the goal of scaling to several hundreds of thousands of Waggle nodes. It supports aggregating data from sensors hosted by the nodes, staging computation, relaying feedback to the nodes and serving data to end-users. We will discuss the Waggle design principles and their applicability to various observational research pursuits, and demonstrate its capabilities.