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Thursday 01 Dec 2016Self-aware Computing Systems: From Psychology to Engineering

Peter Lewis - Aston University

Harrison 170 14:30-15:30

Novel computing systems are increasingly being composed of large numbers

of heterogeneous components, each with potentially different goals or

local perspectives, and connected in networks which change over time.

Management of such systems quickly becomes infeasible for humans. As

such, future computing systems should be able to achieve advanced levels

of autonomous adaptive behaviour. In order for a system to effectively

adapt itself in such a context, its ability to be self-aware becomes


There are a number of disparate clusters of research in computer science

and engineering which have used the term self-awareness explicitly. In

this context, we have developed a conceptual framework that provides

researchers with a common language with which to describe the

self-awareness capabilities of their systems.

In this talk, I shall begin by surveying definitions and current

understanding of self-awareness in psychology. I will then describe how

these concepts are being translated from psychology to the computing

domain, and show how their explicit consideration may be beneficial in

the engineering of adaptive computing systems. I will discuss how

computational self-awareness may include knowledge of internal state,

history, social or physical environment, goals, and further, even a

system's own way of representing and reasoning about these things.

Finally, I will describe some of our work in an example application

domain, distributed smart-camera networks, where decentralised

self-awareness can increase runtime adaptivity and robustness, and avoid

the need for a priori information at design-time.

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