Can IBM make computers smart enough take care of themselves?
Big Blue this week will launch an initiative to promote "autonomic computing," an approach to building self-managing systems that require little or no human interaction.
On Monday, Oct. 15, Paul Horn, director of IBM Research, is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Agenda 2002 conference for technology executives in Scottsdale, Ariz., calling for IT companies to embrace the concepts of autonomic computing.
Horn coined the term "autonomic computing," borrowing from the autonomic nervous system of the human body, which controls key bodily functions - such as breathing - without a persons conscious involvement.
As part of the kickoff of IBMs campaign, Horn will issue a "manifesto" describing the elements of autonomic computing from his perspective. According to Horns White Paper - which will eventually be available on IBMs Web site - an autonomic computing system has eight key elements:
- It "knows itself" and its components, so that it possesses a system identity.
- It constantly reconfigures itself for changing conditions.
- It always looks for ways to optimize its operations.
- It must be able to recover from any events that might cause some of its parts to malfunction.
- It must be an expert in self-defense.
- It must know its environment and the context surrounding its activities and act accordingly.
- It must adhere to open standards.
- It must keep its complexity hidden from the user.
Horn was unavailable for an interview last week, according to an IBM representative.
IBM plans to form an industry consortium, the Autonomic Computing Council, that would promote standardization and development in this area. The company also plans to start a grant program that would give money to universities that are conducting autonomic computing research.