Some Writings about IT Infrastructure, System Administration and IT Operations

A selection of some of the things I have written over the years: (PR = "peer reviewed"). Where dates are ranges, e.g. 1999-2003, this indicates the time from first submission to final publication. Several of these papers were initially considered `outside the scope' of the field of computer science.

  1. 1993: Original CFEngine paper, distributed as a SLAC preprint
  2. PR 1995: CFEngine: a site configuration engine
  3. PR 1998: Computer Immunology
    Explains the manifesto for self-healing, autononomic systems (best paper award).
  4. PR 2000: Principles of Network and System Administration. (Wiley)
  5. 2000-2001: Needles in the Craystack: or Why Machines Get Sick
  6. PR 2000-2003: On the theory of system administration. Science of Computer Programming 49, 2003. p1-46
    Details the concepts of maintenance and policy.
  7. PR 2000-2004: Configurable immunity for evolving human-computer systems,
    Details the concept of convergence (often called idempotence) discussed in the immunology manifesto written down formally and proven.
  8. PR 1999-2002: Measuring system normality, ACM Transactions on Computing Systems 20, p.125-160 (started with H. Haugerud and S. Straumsnes and later completed with T. Reitan)
    First empirical study of networked computers as a problem of incomplete information. Many of the data appeared earlier in the Principles of Network and System Administration textbook, while the paper was blocked in peer review. Analytical Network and System Administration: Managing Human-Computer Systems
  9. PR 2002: Two dimensional time-series for anomaly detection and regulation in adaptive systems, in Proceedings of 13th IFIP/IEEE International Workshop on Distributed System, operations and management (DSOM 2002). "Management Technologies for E-Commerce and E-Business Applications" Springer 2002.
  10. PR 2003: Analytical Network and System Administration: Managing Human-Computer Systems
  11. 2004: Talking to the Walls about pervasive computing `Internet of Things'
  12. 2004: Began work on "promises".
  13. PR 2004: Scalability of peer configuration management in logically ad hoc networks, IEEE eTransactions on Network and Service Management vol 1(1)
  14. PR 2005: An Approach to Understanding Policy Based on Autonomy and Voluntary Cooperation Lecture Notes in Computer Science Volume 3775, 2005, pp 97-108 (best paper)
  15. 2006: Configuration Management: Models and Myths
  16. PR 2006: Probabilistic anomaly detection in distributed computer networks. Science of Computer Programming. Volume 60 Issue 1, March 2006.
    Explanation of the empirically grounded data model that explains CFEngine's scalable monitoring.
  17. PR 2006: Predictable Scaling Behaviour in the Data Centre with Multiple Application Servers, (with Gard Undheim), Proceedings of DSOM 2006, LNCS 4269 p49-60 (best paper award)
  18. 2007: Promise You A Rose Garden
  19. PR 2007: A risk analysis of disk backup or repository maintenance. Science of Computer Programming 2007;64:312-331
    Optimization of risk management in IT systems.
  20. PR 2011: On system rollback and totalised fields. An algebraic approach to system change, Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming 80 (2011), pp. 427-443 DOI information: 10.1016/j.jlap.2011.07.001
    Proof of the impossibility of roll-back in non-trivial IT systems.
  21. 2012: CFEngine, SysAdmin 3.0 and the Third Wave of IT Engineering.
  22. PR 2012: What's Wrong with Knowledge Management? And the Emergence of Ontology
  23. PR 2013: In Search of Certainty: the science of our information infrastructure popular science retrospective on previous work, in a cultural science setting.
  24. PR 2014: Promise Theory: Principles and Applications
  25. 2014: Semantic spacetimes to unify knowledge management with resource and configuration management