A Biologically Inspired Programming Model for Self-Healing Systems

Selvin George, David Evans and Lance Davidson
Workshop on Self-Healing Systems (WOSS'02)
November, 2002

There is an increasing need for software systems to be able to adapt to changing conditions of resource variability, component malfunction and malicious intrusion. Such self-healing systems can prove extremely useful in situations where continuous service is critical or manual repair is not feasible. Human efforts to engineer self-healing systems have had limited success, but nature has developed extraordinary mechanisms for robustness and self-healing over billions of years. Nature's programs are encoded in DNA and exhibit remarkable density and expressiveness. We argue that the software engineering community can learn a great deal about building systems from the broader concepts surrounding biological cell programs and the strategies they use to robustly accomplish complex tasks such as development, healing and regeneration. We present a cell-based programming model inspired from biology and speculate on biologically inspired strategies for producing robust, scalable and self-healing software systems.

Keywords: Biological programming; self-healing systems; amorphous computing.

Complete Paper (3 pages) [PDF] [PS]
Talk Slides [PPT] [PDF]

Swarm Project Page