Leicester Digital Mapping

DARBS (Distributed Algorithmic and Rule-based Blackboard System)


DARBS (Distributed Algorithmic and Rule-based Blackboard System) is proposed as the underpinning software for integrating the diverse components of the Leicester Digital Mapping project. A blackboard system is a multiagent system in which all agent communication takes place via an area of shared memory known as the blackboard. Such a system provides a framework for the integration of a variety of specialist subtasks, each implemented as a software agent. The agents run in parallel, either as different threads on a single computer, or as processes on separate networked computers.

For this project, DARBS will provide a practical means for reasoning about and fusing information from a wide variety of sources. In the simplest model, each agent could perform a specific form of data retrieval and presentation, e.g. geographical, historical, economic, cultural, energy usage, or social.

There will also be a specific requirement for overlay and registration of maps and other images, for which DARBS has already demonstrated its suitability. Image registration is the process of aligning images from different sources or even different modalities (e.g. visual, thermal, x-ray, ultrasonic etc). To achieve alignment, the overlayed images need to be resized, rotated, and distorted relative to each other. DARBS has previously been used to tackle this computationally intensive task by dividing images into segments which are aligned by agents running in parallel on separate networked computers. The components are then brought together to form a registered image.

DARBS has evolved as a research tool and does not, therefore, come neatly packaged and ready to use. Multiple versions of the software exist, each with specific revisions and refinements. Therefore, an important initial stage of the proposed project will be to bring the best components of DARBS together.Through this project, a single standard open-source version will be developed that can be maintained and improved by an international community of users and developers. DARBS is implemented in C++ and currently uses a Linux-based library to provide the user interface tools. As part of this project, it is also proposed that a platform-independent browser-based interface be constructed.


For further information please contact:
Prof Adrain Hopgood
Email: ahopgood [at] dmu.ac.uk