NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has developed software that mimics the biological mechanisms of autonomic systems and apoptotic systems (the process that shuts down cells when they no longer serve a purpose). The software provides self-management and security for a distributed system such as a satellite swarm in which craft communicate and collaborate. Originally developed for space missions, this capability has now been extended for use in terrestrial applications involving cloud and grid-based systems and other applications requiring highly distributed operation.
Next-generation computer-based systems that perform highly distributed systems-upon-systems operation require that the environment is self-managing. This technology provides a range of features that includes various autonomic computing (self-managing) techniques. These include an apoptotic (self-destruct) mechanism for SWARM agents and spacecraft, and autonomous and autonomic environments.
With the future direction of computer-based systems becoming highly distributed (such as cloud and grid computing), autonomic capabilities will be increasingly critical for creating and maintaining a pervasive self-managing system.