Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 23

and obtain more resources for surviving. Through selforganization, each person (or group of people) usually
becomes an expert for fulfilling certain tasks. The society
as a whole can solve various problems.

and matter with the outside world. The whole system is
an evolution environment for its components to coevolve
and coexist. Through coevolution, the components can
be reorganized into various groups, and each group can
become an expert to fulfill certain tasks for the whole
system to obtain resources from the outside world. In
other words, each component group realizes a concept,
and all groups together form the ontology of the distributed system.

Evolution
In the last two decades, evolutionary algorithms (EAs)
have attracted much attention and have been applied to
solving many practical problems [25], [26]. Recently, EAs
have been studied in a more general framework called
Fundamental Properties of
metaheuristics [27].
Self-Governable Distributed Systems
Evolution can be considered a supervised learning proWe investigate some properties that make a distributed
cess in which Mother Nature is the supervisor who serves
system self-governable. Obviously, self-governability is
as an evaluator, and all individual living beings are learners.
stronger than governability because it requires the system
During evolution, well-organized individuals are usually
to have some additional properties.
highly evaluated. An individual is well organized if it possesses a good ontology for making decisions. For example,
a human brain is better organized than an animal brain, and
Purposefulness
this is the main reason why humans seem to dominate the
One important property of a self-governable system is
earth (at least physically). We can also see from human hispurposefulness. That is, the system should have its own
tory that better-organized nations
purpose and be able to autonooften have more chances to thrive
mously define its goal and move
because they can occupy more land
toward the goal. In most conand more resources. Thus, evolution
ventional control systems, the
The ontology defined
is a process to encourage increaspurposes are predefined by the
ingly more organized individuals,
system designers. In Type_1**
in the cyberworld
and governable or self-governable
(where * means don't care) cyberof the Internet is an
distributed systems can emerge
net ics, however, t he subject
via evolution.
should be autonomous and able
abstracted map of
In an EA, the process for evolvto define the goal dynamically
the physical world.
ing well-organized individuals also
because the human designers
conforms to the leader-following
may not be able to specify the
principle. Here, instead of moving
goal(s) in advance.
existing individuals toward the
The brain is a typical example
leaders (i.e., highly evaluated individuals), new individuals
of a self-governable system. For an animal brain, its ultiare generated in the vicinities of the leaders using operamate goal is to survive. Any goal is usually connected
tors such as crossover and mutation. During evolution,
directly to survival. In most cases, it seems that an animal
the leaders will be replaced by new and better ones, and
brain does not define goals consciously. The goals are
eventually, the best individual can become well organized
just generated automatically or reflectively when needed
for solving problems in a given domain.
based on inherited ability. In a human brain, the goals can
Instead of finding the single best individual, natural
be defined more clearly because the ontology of a human
evolution usually tries to find good individual groups. This
brain is more powerful.
is often called coevolution [28]. There are two types of
That is, the ontology associated with the distributed
coevolution, i.e., cooperative coevolution and competitive
system plays a key role in the self-governance. When
coevolution. An individual can obtain more resources to surthe system receives an input (that can come from some
vive through cooperation with others and can become more
sensory units or from some other units inside the syscompetitive and thus obtain better ability to survive through
tem), the ontology selects the most suitable concept to
competition with others. Thus, both cooperation and commake a decision and sends messages to some actuators
petition are needed for an individual to improve its fitness.
for the system to take some actions. After the actions,
In addition, competitive coevolution is also a mechanism for
the system receives another input, and the process is
preventing the whole population from becoming premature.
repeated. If the ontology can make intermediate goals
A governable or self-governable distributed system
appropriately and can drive the system toward the
(e.g., a brain or a human society) often provides a mechagoal, the system will be able to obtain more resources
nism encouraging its components to coevolve inside
for survival. Thus, the purposeful behavior of a selfthe system. This kind of system is often a dissipative
governable system is actually an external expression of
system that constantly exchanges information, energy,
a powerful ontology.
Ap ri l 2015

IEEE Systems, Man, & Cybernetics Magazine

23



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015

Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 1
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 2
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 4
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 5
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 6
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 7
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 8
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 12
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 13
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 14
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 15
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 16
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 18
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 19
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 20
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 21
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 22
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 23
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 24
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 25
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 26
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 27
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 28
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 29
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 30
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 31
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 32
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 33
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 35
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 37
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 40
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 41
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 42
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 43
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Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 46
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 47
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - 48
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover3
Systems, Man & Cybernetics - April 2015 - Cover4
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