Autonomic Computing

"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.
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 IT 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 a shortage of skilled IT workers to manage all of the systems. It's a problem that is not going away, but will grow exponentially, just as our dependence on technology has.
The solution is to build computer systems that regulate themselves much in the same way our autonomic nervous system 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. Autonomic computing calls for a whole new area of study and a whole new way of conducting business.
Autonomic computing was conceived to lessen the spiraling demands for skilled IT resources, reduce complexity and to drive computing into a new era that may better exploit its potential to support higher order thinking and decision making.
Immediate benefits will include reduced dependence on human intervention to maintain complex systems accompanied by a substantial decrease in costs. Long-term benefits will allow individuals, organizations and businesses to collaborate on complex problem solving.

Short-term IT related benefits

  • Simplified user experience through a more responsive, real-time system.
  • Cost-savings - scale to use.
  • Scaled power, storage and costs that optimize usage across both ardware and software.
  • Full use of idle processing power, including home PC's, through networked system.
  • Natural language queries allow deeper and more accurate returns.
  • Seamless access to multiple file types. Open standards will allow users to pull data from all potential sources by re-formatting on the fly.
  • Stability. High availability. High security system. Fewer system or network errors due to self-healing.

Long-term, Higher Order Benefits

  • Realize the vision of enablement by shifting available resources to higher-order business.
  • Embedding autonomic capabilities in client or access devices, servers, storage systems, middleware, and the network itself. Constructing autonomic federated systems.
  • Achieving end-to-end service level management.
  • Collaboration and global problem solving. Distributed computing allows for more immediate sharing of information and processing power to use complex mathematics to solve problems.
  • Massive simulation - weather, medical, complex calculations like protein folding - that require processors to run 24/7 for as long as a year at a time