Systematically Engineering Self-Organizing Systems: The SodekoVS Approach

Jan Sudeikat, Lars Braubach, Alexander Pokahr, Wolfgang Renz, Winfried Lamersdorf


Self-organizing systems promise new software quality attributes that
are very hard to obtain using standard software engineering approaches. In accordance
with the visions of e.g. autonomic computing and organic computing,
self-organizing systems promote self-adaptability as one major property helping to
realize software that can manage itself at runtime. In this respect, self-adaptability
can be seen as a necessary foundation for realizing e.g. self* properties such as self-configuration or self-protection. However, the systematic development of systems
exhibiting such properties challenges current development practices. The SodekoVS
project addresses the challenge to purposefully engineer adaptivity by proposing a
new approach that considers the system architecture as well as the software development
methodology as integral intertwined aspects for system construction. Following
the proposed process, self-organizing dynamics, inspired by biological, physical
and social systems, can be integrated into applications by composing modules
that distribute feedback control structures among system entities. These compositions
support hierarchical as well as completely decentralized solutions without a
single point of failure. This novel development conception is supported by a reference
architecture, a tailored programming model as well as a library of ready to use
self-organizing patterns. The key challenges, recent research activities, application
scenarios as well as intermediate results are discussed.

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