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Logo: SRA/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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Logo: SRA/Leibniz Universität Hannover
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A Short introduction to Organic Computing

Progress in the area of computer architectures – as observed since the 1960ies – will continue at a similar rate in the future. A doubling of relevant performance parameters every 18 – 24 months - according to the generalized Moore law - will characterize the future development as well. Mastering this complexity requires a new paradigm, which is more oriented towards fulfilling human needs than just implementing everything that is technically possible. Computers (and computerized systems) should adapt to humans and to the current situation, not vice versa. 

Adaptivity and self-organization are the key capabilities of future complex computers and computerized systems. Large numbers of autonomous subsystems will try permanently to achieve an optimization goal as prescribed by the human user. The ability of cooperation with other subsystems (and with humans) plays a central role. Such computer systems will have properties, which make them look lifelike – or “organic”.

Organic computer systems consist of autonomous and cooperating subsystems, they function – as far as possible – self-organizing. Self-organization is based on adaptive and context-sensitive behavior. Organic Computer (OC) systems have so called self-x properties like

  • Self-configuration
  • Self-optimization
  • Self-healing
  • Self-protection
  • Self-explanation etc.

In the new research area of Social Organic Computing we are primarily interested in the question how autonomous subsystems (or agents) can cooperate in large compounds. Successful, efficient and effective cooperation has social behavior (including trust) as a prerequisite. This becomes obvious from a game theoretical analysis. We believe that trust and dependability must become constituent parts of complex technical systems. In addition to emergent bottom-up self-organizational mechanisms we need also top-down control to curb this emergent self-organization. For this purpose we are introducing institutional principles into our technical systems such as “Enduring institutions” as proposed by E. Ostrom in the social and economic sciences.

SRA was a key player from the beginning of the Organic Computing Initiative, launched by GI, ITG and VDE already in 2003, and in the DFG Special Priority Program (SPP) Organic Computing (2005 – 2011). More information about Organic Computing can be found here:Organic Computing