CS 788 - Autonomic Computing - Spring 2020

George Mason University
Course Description
Fridays 1:30pm to 4:10pm Peterson Hall 1111
Professor Daniel A. Menasce'
Engineering Building Suite 5307
Course office hours: Mondays 3:00 to 4:00 PM or by appt; e-mail at all times
E-mail: menasce at gmu dot edu (please prefix the subject of your message with CS 788)

CS 788 Home Page


CS 788 is a 3-credit doctoral seminar that studies a very hot area in Computer Science called autonomic computing. These systems have the property of being self-managing, self-optimizing, self-configuring, self-tuning, self-healing, and self-protecting. For this reason, autonomic systems are also known as self-* systems. The main motivations for autonomic systems include the ever increasing complexity of modern computer systems (e.g., cloud computing, e-commerce systems, systems based on Web Services, Service-Oriented Architectures, and Grid Computing) and the highly unpredictable demands on these systems. These factors make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for human beings to constantly reconfigure the systems to adapt to varying load and occurrence of failures or security attacks. Therefore, systems have to be able to adapt themselves as the human body adapts itself to various sorts of external conditions.

This course addresses many types of autonomic systems as well as various techniques to design and build such systems. This is a doctoral seminar based on reading and analysis of current papers. Master students are allowed to take the course based on instructor permission.

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Grades are based on class participation, presentation of papers in class, and on two term papers. Grades will be numerical on the scale 0-100. Your final numerical grade, G, is computed as:
G = 0.15* Class Participation + 0.20 * Paper Presentations in Class + 0.25 * Term Paper 1 + 0.4 * Term Paper 2

The following table is used to convert your numerical grade G to a letter grade:

letter grade
[97,100]  A+
[93,97)  A
[88,93)  A-
[85,88)  B+
[81,85)  B
[77,81)  B-
[65, 77)  C
< 65  F

There is no curving. No extra credit assignments will be given after the semester is over to increase grades. The instructor may decide to give an extra-credit assignment during the semester. Everyone will be given the opportunity to do the extra-credit assignment.

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SYLLABUS: Week 1 will be devoted to an introduction to the topic and to course logistics. Each week thereafter will be devoted to the the analysis and discussion of papers. Papers will be assigned in advance and two or three students will be selected to be the primary presenters of the paper to the class.
Students assigned to papers have to prepare a power point presentation about the paper. The first slide has to contain the name of the paper, its full citation (authors and were it appeared), and the phrase "Summarized by ". Discussion will follow each presentation. Students have to come prepared to discuss the papers in class. All students will be required to bring a one-page summary/critique of the papers read each week. This will count toward class participation.


Papers will be selected from various sources including (links to conferences only point to the latest one but previous and recent ones will be considered):

  1. Proceedings of the Intl. Conf. Autonomic Computing (ICAC)
  2. Proceedings of the IEEE Intl. Conf. Cloud and Autonomic Computing (ICCAC).
  3. Proceedings of the Intl. Symposium on Software Engineering for Adaptive and Self-Managing Systems
  4. Papers from the ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS)
  5. Proceedings of the Autonomous and Autonomic Systems (ICAS) Conference
  6. Papers in Menasce's autonomic web site
Other recommended books:
  1. Autonomic Computing: Principles, Design and Implementation, Philippe Lalanda, Julie A. McCann, Ada Diaconescu, Springer, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-4471-5007-7.
  2. Self-Star Properties in Complex Information Systems, O. Babaoglu, M. Jelasity, A. Montresor, C. Fetzer , S. Leonardi, A. van Moorsel, and M. van Steen, eds., Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 3460, Springer Verlag, 2005.


  • ACM Digital Library.
  • Scroll down to IEEE/IET Electronic Library.
  • Google Scholar

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    For each term paper, students will select a coherent set of a minimum of 4 to 5 papers, the core papers, on which they will base the term paper. The term paper has to cover at least the following topics: a) general area of the issue addressed within autonomic computing; b) summary of the contributions presented in the core papers. This summary must be written in your own words in a way that clearly lays out the assumptions and limitations of each contribution; c) critique of the papers; and d) open problems and future work that could be derived from the work presented in the core papers. Grading will be based on content, organization, and readibility. It is expected that the second term paper has some novel material that, if worked up some more, could lead to the submission of a conference paper.

    Students will present to the class their second term paper on the last day of classes.

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    First Day of Classes  January 24, 2020. 
    Spring Recess (no classes) March 13, 2020
    Term Paper 1 Due: March 20, 2020
    Last day of classes and 2nd term paper presentation: May 1, 2020
    Term Paper 2 Due: May 8, 2020
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    No collaboration is allowed among students in any of the individual assignments.

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    Last updated: November 8, 2019