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The next generation of computing systems will be embedded, in a virtually unbounded number, and dynamically connected. The current software, network architectures, and their associated programming models are not suitable for this scenario. This paper presents a distributed computing model, Cooperative Computing, and the Smart Messages architecture for programming large networks of embedded systems. In Cooperative Computing, distributed applications are dynamic collections of migratory execution units, called Smart Messages, working to achieve a common goal. Virtually any user-defined distributed application can be implemented using our model. We present preliminary results for our prototype implementation as well as simulation results for two previously proposed applications for sensor networks, Directed Diffusion and SPIN, implemented using Smart Messages.