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What kind of self-aware systems does the Grid need?

Mowbray, Miranda; Bronstein, Alexandre

HPL-2002-266R1

Keyword(s): self-aware; grid

Abstract: In this paper we draw on computer science, biology, psychology, and philosophy to examine what sort of self-awareness the Grid needs. Several influential Grid researchers have said that the Grid requires self-aware systems, without saying explicitly what "self-aware" means. We classify definitions of self- awareness from philosophy, cognitive science and computer science into two families. The first family is concerned with the external behaviour of the system, the second with its internal processes and structure. The commonest computer science definition is in the second family, and involves reflection - the ability of a program to manipulate as data something representing the state of the program during its own execution. We argue, with examples, that reflection is not necessary for the Grid: Grid systems should use self-awareness properties based on the external behaviour of the system, or no self-awareness at all, depending on the task.

12 Pages

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