Cfengine as an adaptive autonomous agent

May 28th, 2005

Cfengine is a configuration management tool that is widely used to manage networks of Unix systems. It was originally developed at the University of Oslo in 1993. I’ve only been dimly aware of it and assumed it was yet another common system administration tool for Unix. I was surprised to see how it’s described on the Cfengine site:

“About Cfengine: Cfengine, or the configuration engine is an autonomous agent and a middle to high level policy language and agent for building expert systems to administrate and configure large computer networks. Cfengine is designed to be a part of a computer immune system. It is ideal for cluster management and has been adopted for use all over the world in small and huge organizations alike.”

The developers have evolved their approach to use a biologically inspired immunity model and have a recent paper in the Machine Learning Journal.