Erlang as an enabling technology for resilient general-purpose applications on edge IoT networks
Edge computing is one of the key success factors for future Internet solutions that intend to support the ongoing IoT evolution. By offloading central areas using resources that are closer to clients, providers can offer reliable services with increasingly higher quality. But even industry standards are still lacking a valid solution for edge systems with actual sense-making capabilities when no preexisting infrastructure whatsoever is available. The current edge model involves a tight coupling with gateway devices and Internet access, even when the IoT ad hoc networks could perform partial or even complete tasks correctly. In our previous research efforts, we have introduced Achlys, an Erlang programming framework that takes advantage of the GRiSP embedded system capabilities in order to bring edge computing one step further. GRiSP is an embedded board that can easily be programmed without requiring deep low level knowledge, which offers the extensive toolset of the Erlang ecosystem directly on bare metal hardware. We have been able to demonstrate that our framework allows building reliable applications on unreliable networks of unreliable GRiSP nodes with a very simple programming API. In this paper, we present how Erlang can successfully be used to address edge computing challenges directly on IoT sensor nodes, taking advantage of our existing framework. We display results of deployed distributed programs at the edge and examples of the unique advantage that is offered by Erlang high order programming in order to achieve reliable general-purpose computing through Achlys.
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Torbjörn LagerDepartment of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg