Self-improving system integration: Mastering continuous change

Kirstie Bellman, Jean Botev, Ada Diaconescu, Lukas Esterle, Christian Gruhl, Christopher Landauer, Peter R. Lewis, Phyllis R. Nelson, Evangelos Pournaras, Anthony Stein, Sven Tomforde*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The research initiative “self-improving system integration” (SISSY) was established with the goal to master the ever-changing demands of system organisation in the presence of autonomous subsystems, evolving architectures, and highly-dynamic open environments. It aims to move integration-related decisions from design-time to run-time, implying a further shift of expertise and responsibility from human engineers to autonomous systems. This introduces a qualitative shift from existing self-adaptive and self-organising systems, moving from self-adaptation based on predefined variation types, towards more open contexts involving novel autonomous subsystems, collaborative behaviours, and emerging goals. In this article, we revisit existing SISSY research efforts and establish a corresponding terminology focusing on how SISSY relates to the broad field of integration sciences. We then investigate SISSY-related research efforts and derive a taxonomy of SISSY technology. This is concluded by establishing a research road-map for developing operational self-improving self-integrating systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-46
Number of pages18
JournalFuture Generation Computer Systems
Early online date24 Nov 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2020, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Funding Information:
Lukas Esterle s an Assistant Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University, Denmark. Lukas holds a Masters degree in Computer Science and a Dr.-techn. in Electrical Engineering from Alpen-Adria University Klagenfurt. He was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Technology in Vienna and a Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at Aston University, Birmingham, UK funded by the European Commission. His research interests are collaborative, autonomous, and self-aware systems, Computational and Artificial Intelligence, multi-agent and cyberphysical systems, and nature-inspired approaches to solve complex problems. Lukas co-authored several books on Self-aware computing systems and made substantial contributions to several self-aware computing applications around visual sensor networks and multi-robot systems. Lukas is a member of the Aarhus University Centre for Digitalisation, Big Data and Data Analytics (DIGIT)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Autonomous systems
  • Organic computing
  • Self-improvement
  • Self-integration
  • System engineering
  • Taxonomy


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