Went to a great talk over in Computer Science (Thanks Diane Pozefsky for inviting us) by Kathryn Britton (IBM) and Wayne Clarke (Cisco) on autonomic computing. Autonomic computing is like the autonomic nervous system. That is it is a system that operates without thinking like say your circulatory system, digestive system, etc. Autonomic computing is the evolving effort to achieve the right balance between what a person does and what technology does. IBM has a very good descriptive site dedicated to explaining autonomic computing. As well as a place to download and try out some free software for autonomic computing. The Alphaworks site also has some good introductions to autonomic computing including the very useful ABCs of Autonomic Computing by Lori Small.
Note: ibiblio is involved in information sharing with IBM at the theoritical level for autonomic computing when we are working with Rick Harper and Dave Bradley.

Abstract for the talk:

Self-Managing Systems: A Necessity for Future IT Infrastructures, the Autonomic Computing Vision

Computing technology has progressed rapidly over the last several decades with implementations and applications that were unthinkable a decade ago now commonplace. The rate of progress, however, has brought its own cost. As large IT infrastructures grow more complex the cost of managing these systems has increased rapidly. As a result a greater percentage of the IT budget is going toward maintenance of the infrastructure rather than improving its benefit to the business.

We will discuss how self-managing systems will not only help solve today’s problem of increasing complexity but, will, in fact, finally allow IT infrastructures to directly serve the corporation’s business needs rather than being a static and poorly implemented attempt to automate yesterday’s business processes. We will delineate the opportunities for, and challenges of, standardization of self-managing technologies. We will describe IBM’s vision for autonomic computing, with particular focus on problem determination, configuration, and optimization. We will conclude with some of the research areas in which further exploration is needed.