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Machine, Heal Thyself

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Florida Tech associate professor Richard Ford

Computers are "not very good at generating self-protective behaviors," says Florida Tech computer science associate professor Richard Ford, who leads a team of researchers seeking a way to make computers aware of internal damages as a prelude to repairing

Credit: Patrick Peterson / Florida Today

Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) researchers are developing ways for computers to sense damage to their systems and automatically make repairs. "We're exploring ways that we might make computers more aware of pain," says FIT professor Richard Ford.

The researchers examined how humans deal with symptom perception and illness and tried to relate that information to computer systems. Ford is researching how the human immune system can be used as a model for the detection and prevention of malicious code, says Harris Corp. senior scientist Ronda Henning. "We're trying to teach computers to make educated guesses based on the stimuli from their surroundings, and compensate for them accordingly," Henning says.

The researchers' focus has shifted from computer strength to resilience, which is the ability to repair damage from an attack and thwart the attack mechanism. "As computers become smaller, they will certainly have the capability to become resilient and autonomous, if only because there can be multiple units embedded in one device," Henning says.

From Florida Today
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