This NASA innovation is a biologically inspired system management method designed to make sensor webs as well as other autonomous and autonomic systems more self-directing and self-managing. Based on the mechanisms of cell apoptosis, this method ensures safe and correct operation over time by enabling self-destruct, self-sleep, or standby actions in response to potentially harmful or compromising situations. The capabilities provided by this technology will benefit systems such as sensors, computer systems, and spacecraft.
In this method, an autonomic entity manages a system through the generation of one or more stay-alive signals by a hierarchical evolvable synthetic neural system. The generated signal is based on the current functioning status and operating state of the system, and dictates whether the system will stay alive, initiate self-destruction, or initiate sleep mode. This method provides a solution to the longstanding need for a synthetic autonomous entity capable of adapting itself to changing external environments and ceasing its own operation upon the occurrence of a predetermined condition deemed harmful.