“Resistance is Futile”: Using the Borg to Teach Collective Computing Systems

Lukas Esterle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


The Borg are a conglomeration of a large number of different species. They exploit the positive traits of the individual species in order to progress towards their common goal of achieving ‘perfection’. When teaching about self-aware collective computing systems, the Borg are an ideal example. First, the collective system is often built from heterogeneous devices with different capabilities just like the different races in the Borg collective have different traits. Second, individual entities can enter and leave the collective without destroying its general integrity. Third, the collective operates to achieve a common goal without central coordination, even if this may not be the goal of each individual. Fourth, a self-aware system needs to adapt to each new environment on (i) the individual and (ii) the collective level. However, in contrast to Borg, our computational collectives are usually cooperative rather than trying to forcefully assimilate any species with interesting traits.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSet Phasers to Teach!
Subtitle of host publicationStar Trek in Research and Teaching
EditorsStefan Rabitsch, Martin Gabriel, Wilfried Elmenreich, John N.A. Brown
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-73776-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-73775-1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2018


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