Programming mobile peer-to-peer applications with AmbientTalk

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

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportResearch


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 using current technology is a challenge because of problems inherent to concurrent and distributed programming, and because of problems inherent to mobile networks, such as the fact that wireless network connections are generally less stable.

We present AmbientTalk, a distributed programming language designed specifically to develop mobile peer-to-peer applications. We discuss the language's foundations and our experiences in using it. We focus in particular on the language's concurrency and distribution model since it lies at the heart of AmbientTalk's sup- port for responsive, robust application development. The model is based on communicating event loops, itself a flavour of the actor model. We provide a precise description of this model by means of a small-step operational semantics. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first formal coverage of an actor language based on communicating event loops.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - May 2013


  • event loops
  • actors
  • futures
  • mobile networks
  • peer-to-peer


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