The Organic Computing Association

About OrCA

Our Work

OrCA (Organic Computing Association) is the seminal foundation for research in ecologically responsible organic computing. The workstreams within OrCA currently consist of Tractable Systems, Archival Miasma, Meandering Processes and Ecological Memory Management, of which the latter forms the majority of active development.

Ecological Memory Management is a new field of memory management that takes its environmental responsibility seriously and focuses on reuse, recycling, and composting instead of constantly allocating and disposing of objects. Every day, exabytes of data are irresponsibly garbage collected into bit buckets where they will never be used again Those bits could be the works of artists, the deleted tweets of politicians, or the carefully crafted structures assembled by programmers, and it is our duty as denizens of our data centers and as stewards of our servers to ensure that those stale bits are disposed of responsibly, with the care and respect that they deserve. .

Ecological Memory Management is an aspect of organic computing, which encourages the use of local resources to solve problems whenever possible. Entropy is a common resource request, for instance, and many processes pester the operating system quite frequently with random calls. We show that with a little work by our composting garbage collector, the garbage created by the typical process provides a high quality source of entropy that should be more than sufficient for its needs When we run our processes in completely sterile environments, devoid of rich digital detritus, is it any wonder that they crash when the slightest thing goes wrong? .

Ecological Memory Management asks computer users and their processes to strive to follow the Boy Scout Rule: leave the computer better than you found it, exploit as few system resources as possible, and give bits and bytes back whenever possible to be shared, reused, recycled, or composted. By working together with our co-located neighbors, we can ensure that our server farms can continue to produce high quality digital comestibles far into the future.

At the end of the day, every developer has to make decisions about how to responsibly manage their garbage. OrCA presents a range of ecologically oriented options for designing computational processes that consume fewer resources, produce less waste, are more self-sufficient, and are better stewards of their local and regional ecosystems. We hope you will choose organic computing: for yourself, for the computers, for our world.

Partnerships & Future Work

OrCA is proud to be working with HOME (Homing Orphans and Momentary Executables) to find homes for the trillions of orphan processes, zombie processes, daemon processes, and short-lived threads that are created and destroyed every day. Some of these computational entities are labouriously created only to be destroyed just a few nanoseconds later, which is both computationally expensive and ethically questionable. HOME is dedicated to finding good homes where these oft-ignored entities can continue to function as part of an ecosystem of mutually beneficial processes. HOME takes this responsibility seriously, and encourages programmers and system administrators to do so as well.