AmbientTalk: programming responsive mobile peer-to-peer applications with actors

Tom Van Cutsem, Elisa Gonzalez Boix, Christophe Scholliers, Andoni Lombide Carreton, Dries Harnie, Kevin Pinte, Wolfgang De Meuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of mobile computing platforms has given rise to a new class of applications: mobile applications that interact with peer applications running on neighbouring phones. Developing such applications is challenging because of problems inherent to concurrent and distributed programming, and because of problems inherent to mobile networks, such as the fact that wireless network connectivity is often intermittent, and the lack of centralized infrastructure to coordinate the peers.

We present AmbientTalk, a distributed programming language designed specifically to develop mobile peer-to-peer applications. AmbientTalk aims to make it easy to develop mobile applications that are resilient to network failures by design. We describe the languages concurrency and distribution model in detail, as it lies at the heart of AmbientTalks support for responsive, resilient application development. The model is based on communicating event loops, itself a descendant of the actor model. We contribute a small-step operational semantics for this model and use it to establish data race and deadlock freedom.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-136
Number of pages25
JournalComputer Languages, Systems and Structures
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2014


  • Actors
  • Event loops
  • Futures
  • Mobile networks
  • Peer-to-peer
  • Service discovery
  • Leasing


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