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Information & Communication Technologies



FP7: FET Proactive Intiative: Fundamentals of Collective Adaptive Systems (FOCAS)


WHAT IS "Fundamentals of Collective Adaptive Systems" (FOCAS)

The socio-technical fabric of our society more and more depends on systems that are constructed as a collective of heterogeneous components and that are tightly entangled with humans and social structures. Their components increasingly need to be able to evolve, collaborate and function as a part of an artificial society.


A key feature of Collective Adaptive Systems (CASs) is that they comprise many units/nodes, which have their own individual properties, objectives and actions. Decision-making is distributed and possibly highly dispersed, and interaction between the units may lead to the emergence of unexpected phenomena. They are open, in that nodes may enter or leave the collective at any time, and boundaries between CASs are fluid. The units can be highly heterogeneous (computers, robots, agents, devices, biological entities, etc), each operating at different temporal and spatial scales, and having different (potentially conflicting) objectives and goals. The objective is to establish a foundational framework for CASs.

Target outcomes

  • Operating Principles: principles by which CASs can operate. These should go beyond existing control and optimisation theories, taking into account the diversity of objectives within the system, conflicts resolution, long term stability, and the need to reason in the presence of partial, noisy, out-of-date and inaccurate information
  • Design Principles: principles necessary to build and manage CASs, such as enabling the emergence of behaviour and facilitating prediction and control of those behaviours. These principles should exploit the inherent concurrency and include methods for system validation.
  • Evolutionary Properties: properties concerning the evolutionary nature of CASs, e.g. open-ended (unbounded) evolutionary systems, the trade-off and interaction between learning and evolution, and the effect of evolution on operating and design principles.
    IPs should address all three target outcomes. STREPs should have a main focus.

Expected impact

  • New functionalities for adaptive ICT systems enabled through novel principles, methods and technologies for designing and operating collective adaptive systems.
  • New insights into the general properties of large scale distributed systems.

Funding schemes


Indicative budget

  • € 23 million

Extract ICT-FET in the FP7 Work Programme 2011-2012 ( 240KB), including the specific "FET eligibility, evaluation, selection and award criteria".


  • Call open: 18 January 2012
  • Call deadline: 17th April 2012 (17:00 Brussels local time)
  • Start of projects: 2013