Christian Müller-Schloer

Our technical systems are becoming increasingly complex. This is due not only to the sheer number of components and interconnections. In addition, the components themselves will be more autonomous, unknown, and unpredictable.

Already in 2003, Organic Computing (OC) has set out to develop more robust systems which are able to cope with complexity and real-world conditions. OC tries to copy from complex natural systems which have proven to be robust and resilient against internal and external disturbances, adaptive to new environmental conditions, and can even cope with self-ruled and autonomous subsystems (like humans).

The lecture will motivate the necessity for developing new system architectures and show some examples of self-organization of natural and technical systems. We will describe the class of “organic systems” by 10 typical characteristics and ask if and how we can transfer organic solution principles to technical systems.

As a first step, OC has concentrated on so-called self* properties such as self-organization, self-healing, self-optimization, or self-protection. As an example, the Organic Traffic Control system will be discussed.

Then, OC has developed in the direction of multiple semi-autonomous agents cooperating or competing in a social group. Here, social mechanisms known from human societies – such as trust, reputation, or fairness – have been investigated and incorporated into technical solutions. This leads to so-called Trust Communities which allow us to cope with open systems with unknown and possibly malevolent members.

Finally, we will briefly discuss the concept of holonic organizations. Holons are double-faced entities: they are, at the same time, parts and wholes. Holonic structures have the ability of true self-organization, i.e. the encapsulation and abstraction of complex subsystems which then form new holons. Holonic organization could serve as the blueprint for the dynamic integration of systems of systems.

Speaker: following studies and Ph.D. in Munich, he first worked for more than ten years at Siemens (Applied Computer Sciences), before accepting 1991 the Chair for Systems and Computer Architecture at the University of Hannover. His main research interest is in a deeper understanding of the mechanisms governing the self-organization of natural systems and the possibilities to transfer these mechanisms to complex technical systems. Together with Prof. Schmeck, Karlsruhe, and Prof. Ungerer, Augsburg, he has established the research field of Organic Computing.