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What is the difference between the two words "Autonomic" and "Autonomous"?

Are they interchangeable in any situation?

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Autonomic means involuntary and I have only ever heard it used in reference to bodily biological processes.

Autonomous means independent and I have only ever heard it used in reference to whole organisms and to machinery.

I cannot, off the top of my head, think of any situation in which they are interchangeable.

  • Thanks for your answer, however in the sentence "Towards autonomic workload provisioning of ... " that is the title of a published paper we see a different usages that made me ask this question, what do you think about that? – mok May 2 '14 at 6:08
  • Huh, learn something new every day. I'm very curious as to why the practice was named "autonomic" instead of "automatic" and if there was a good reason for it, but it does seem to be industry wide, but I'm not readily finding the original source article. – Codeswitcher May 2 '14 at 6:33
  • This may be something for which the answer is very domain specific. Since I don't know anything about autonomic server provisioning, I don't know whether "autonomous" (or "automatic") are legitimate synonyms for it. – Codeswitcher May 2 '14 at 6:34
  • It might be worth noting that, of all the 44 results returned by Google when I searched for "Towards autonomic workload provisioning" (yes, there are only 44 occurrences in the world that Google found), all of them point to the same paper: "Towards autonomic workload provisioning for enterprise Grids and clouds". – Damkerng T. May 2 '14 at 7:47
  • @DamkerngT. when I popped "autonomic provisioning" into Google, I got 132,000 hits. I don't know that the "Towards" and the "workload" do anything to find us the origin of the use of "autonomic" this way; they find us that one paper. Edited to add: 4,130 hits when "autonomic provisioning" is in quotes. – Codeswitcher May 3 '14 at 6:56

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