Basser Seminar Series

Organic Computing - Visions and Challenges

Prof. Hartmut Schmeck
Institute AIFB, University of Karlsruhe, Germany

THURSDAY, 30 March 2006, 4-5pm (NOTE: different day than usual)

Basser Conference Room (Madsen Building, Room G92)


The continuing trend towards smaller and more powerful electronic devices indicates that within few years we shall be surrounded by a multitude of systems and system components. Equipped with a variety of sensors they will be capable of building up an awareness of their environment. They will communicate and they will adapt their behaviour to the currently available information about their "living environment". Due to the growing complexity these multiply connected systems will no longer be explicitly controllable, they will inevitably exhibit some forms of self-organisation. This has led to the fascinating vision of "Organic Computing": Networked intelligent systems will be assisting us in our daily life, available whenever and wherever we need them, and to a large extent they will be autonomous: they will manage and utilize available resources, they will detect and repair faulty components, i.e. they will show some lifelike behaviour. At the same time, this vision could turn into the Orwellian menace of a society consisting of perfectly transparent and completely controlled individuals. Therefore, Informatics and Computer Engineering are challenged to guarantee that the emerging behaviour of these anticipated networked systems will remain advantageous for all of us. In particular, new paradigms are needed for system design and architectures allowing to appropriately observe and influence dynamic networks of intelligent systems having quite some degrees of freedom to adapt their behaviour autonomously to dynamically changing requirements. The talk will elaborate on these topics and will give an overview of the recent priority research program on Organic Computing funded by the German Research Foundation (

Speaker's biography

Hartmut Schmeck is a full professor of applied informatics at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. His research interests are the design and analysis of algorithms, in particular bio-inspired optimisation (evolutionary algorithms and ant colony optimisation) and algorithms for parallel and reconfigurable architectures. He is coordinator of the recent priority research program on Organic Computing, funded by the German Research Foundation.