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Title: Viable computing systems : a set theory decomposition of Anthony Stafford Beer's viable system model : aspirant of surpassing autonomic computing
Author: Thompson, Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2703 8076
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis articulates a novel technology: Viable Computing Systems (VCS), which promotes viability within self-managing computing systems. The research momentum was rising software system complexity within the software industry today. Autonomic Computing has been proposed as a solution to this, yet this research advances into the genre of Viable Computing Systems (VCS) by presenting a conceptual model characterizing homeostatic self-governance, thereby innovating within the genre. By examining cybernetic, mathematical, biological and computing techniques, a first-stage, functional, decomposition of Stafford Beer's cybernetic Viable System Model (VSM) is presented from the viewpoint of dually modelling the relationships between the recursive levels of the VSM and between the component systems. By endorsing autonomy versus governance, this research presents a tangible formalism conceptualising homeostasis. This research uniquely presents an algebraic, atomically derived, emergent model that reflects a set theory decomposition of the VSM. This is pertinent by its composition of multiple, yet independent entities sharing one or more objectives. Although the original scope of the VSM was that of human organizations, this work digresses towards its application to autonomic computing system design. The potential to deliver self-managing systems based upon the principles of the human autonomic nervous system is exposed. Since its inception, scope for progression still exists, thereby enabling the presentation of this innovative research that applies a cybernetic approach to the extension of the aforestated software architectural style. Overall, the thesis presents an expressive grammar as a reference framework, using Beer's VSM as a vehicle to augment the state of the art of autonomic computing into the original field of Viable Computing Systems. This progresses the state of the art by offering an original framework that has the future potential to be translated into code and thus feasibly executed in a real world situation. Case studies demonstrate a theory of how inherent learning and control is sought through system-environment interplay. By focusing on exchanges and interrelationships, the system demonstrates potential to evolve via environmental interaction. This is achieved through the conservation and management of appropriate resources provided by each entity, so exhibiting proof of concept.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science