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Active networks (ANs) provide a programmable platform on which network services can be constructed and refined by injecting code into the nodes of the network. They offer an effective scheme for high-speed networks to manage the provision of quality of service (QoS) that advanced services may require. In this paper, we propose an approach that allows the description of QoS requirements as programs that can be used by a node in order to change its behavior to satisfy the required QoS. The approach is based on the notion of logical data unit state that can be observed at an appropriate level of granularity and implemented using several mechanisms for resource reallocation.