The goal of Prof. Agha's research is to understand the nature of concurrent computation. Results of the research will lead to new ways to build and maintain open distributed systems. Specifically, his group is developing concurrent programming languages and systems that support applications with high-performance, fault-tolerance, or real-time requirements. The group's research is both theoretical and practical. The goal of the theory is to provide a clear semantics for new programming constructs and software composition techniques. The goal of developing systems is to experiment with the ideas and provide a proof of principle.
The research is based on the Actors, a model of concurrent objects for which Prof. Agha is recognized as a prime exponent. Some recent accomplishments of his group include building the fastest run-time systems available to support fine-grained object migration; developing a theory of actor systems that provides powerful proof techniques for open distributed computing; a distributed real-time programming language; visualization tools; a software architecture for defining reusable protocols; and a methodology for coordinating distributed objects.