Autonomic computing

Posted on 11:13 PM by Admin

"Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them." - Alfred North Whitehead
This quote made by the preeminent mathematician Alfred Whitehead holds both the lock and the key to the next era of computing. It implies a threshold moment surpassed only after humans have been able to automate increasingly complex tasks in order to achieve forward momentum.
There is every reason to believe that we are at just such a threshold right now in computing. The millions of businesses, billions of humans that compose them, and trillions of devices that they will depend upon all require the services of the I/T industry to keep them running. And it's not just a matter of numbers. It's the complexity   of these systems and the way they work together that is creating shortage of skilled I/T workers to manage all of the systems. The high-tech industry has spent decades creating computer systems with ever- mounting degrees of complexity to solve a wide variety of business problems. Ironically, complexity itself has become part of the problem. It’s a problem that's not going away, but will grow exponentially, just as our dependence on technology has.
 But as Mr. Whitehead so eloquently put it nearly a century ago, the solution may  lie in automation, or creating a new capacity where important computing operations can run without the need for human intervention. On October 15th, 2001 Paul Horn, senior vice president of IBM Research addressed the Agenda conference, an annual meeting of the preeminent technological minds, held in Arizona. In his speech, and in a document he distributed there, he suggested a solution: build computer systems that regulate themselves much in the same way our  nervous systems regulates and protects our bodies.
This new model of computing is called autonomic computing. The good news is that some components of this technology are already up and running. However, complete  autonomic systems do not yet exist. This is not a proprietary solution. It's a radical change in the way businesses, academia, and even the government design, develop, manage and maintain computer systems. Autonomic computing calls for a whole new area of study and a whole new way of conducting business.

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