Distinguished Lecture Series lecture by Roy Sterritt (Ulster University)

SPAAACE: Self*-Properties Autonomic, Apoptotic & Autonomous Computing Ecosystem

For this semester’s DLS we’re delighted to welcome Roy Sterritt of the University of Ulster, who works with NASA on autonomous spaceflight and spacecraft design. He will be delivering three 1-hour talks on Wednesday 21st October (i.e., the Wednesday of Independent Learning Week). More details on times and (virtual) place to follow.


1000-1010 Introductions

1010-1110 Lecture 1

1130-1230 Lecture 2

1400-1500 Lecture 3

This set of talks focuses on Autonomic Computing research, in particular with NASA, which has the aim to achieve a systematic means to obtaining self-managing and autonomous robotic craft software for future space missions based on inspiration from biology. In particular it reflects on the speaker’s research that took place in the noughties with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) on the ANTS (Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarms) concept mission Autonomic Computing and Apoptotic Computing streams.

Autonomic Computing is the vision to create self-managing systems, inspired by the biological Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which originated as a call to industry and academia by IBM in 2001 to cope with ever increasing complexity in our systems of systems.

Apoptotic Computing is inspired by the apoptosis mechanism in biological systems. This mechanism provides security for the overall system by having a preprogrammed death and indeed a death by default at, for instance, the cellular level. It has been argued that this approach should be included in our modern ubiquitous/pervasive computer-based systems.

The talks then continue with the authors research streams in the twenty-tens, moving towards NewSpace or Space 2.0. Three specific streams of research within this area are covered; cooperation between the autonomic robotic craft, an autonomic robotic architecture (and case-studies to derive such) and the development of an Autonomic Systems capability model for CubeSats. For instance, apoptotic computing utilized for CubeSats, pre-programming death with the intent to ensure that CubeSats do not add to the proliferation of Space Debris.

About the speaker

Roy Sterritt is a member of Faculty in Computing and Engineering at Ulster University. He spent several years in industry with IBM, first at their UK headquarters in Portsmouth, and then at the IBM Hursley Labs in Winchester. Initially he was a Software Developer in their KBS department but then became a Product Development Manager with responsibility for tools to support (intelligent) risk assessment and project management in personal and mobile environments which were used widely in the UK and US. Roy’s academic research career began in 1996 when he was appointed to the first of a series of joint University of Ulster and Nortel research projects investigating parallel, automated and intelligent approaches to the development and testing of fault management telecommunications systems.

Roy’s main focus of research is Systems and Software Engineering of Autonomic (Self-Managing Computer-Based) Systems, essentially a research area developed from a call from industry to deal with the complexity and total cost of ownership of our systems of systems (IBM 2001). To date he has 200 publications in the field including research collaborations with NASA, IBM TJ Watson Center, BT, SAP, HP and Core Systems as well as many academic partners. The research with NASA also lead to 16 US patents. He was the founding chair of the IEEE Task Force and subsequently Technical Committee on Autonomous & Autonomic Systems and elected chair of IEEE Technical Committee on Engineering of Computer-Based Systems. He has held many other IEEE roles such as; IEEE CS Publications board member, chair of the Conference Publications Operations Committee (CPOC); served on the IEEE CS Technical & Conferences Activities Board (T&C Excom and Opcom) and chaired the Conference Advisory Committee (CAC). He has been appointed to the many editorial boards including the NASA Journal on Innovations in Systems and Software Engineering, ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS), AIAA Journal of Aerospace Computing, Information, and Communication, Journal of Autonomic and Trusted Computing, and Multiagent and Grid Systems – An International Journal; and served on steering and/or program committees of the majority of the conferences in his field at some stage during the last 20 years. With 16 patents with NASA, Roy also takes the opportunity to explore spinning out the Autonomic Research as well as continuing that research, in particular through his PhD students.

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