The word or phrase should bring the idea of living community to mind. It should be able to be applied to computer systems, as well.

In my head, it should be something like ecosystem, which is connected to both systems in general and life. It's not great, however, as it is already too widely known to mean "an actual community of living beings" and thus will not be suitable for computing or information systems.

Other examples might be quorum, commune, organism, network. They work on some level but don't have the nice, aesthetic, poetic connotation I'm hoping for that relates to life.

Thanks so much!

  • Ecosystem is used in computing and information systems as well - e.g. Java Ecosystem. – Lawrence Mar 19 '16 at 6:41
  • Biosphere might do but it can't be applied to technology. You want a term that means "living community" that can be applied to computing and information systems. That's a though desideratum to meet. – GoldenGremlin Mar 19 '16 at 16:41
  • Yeah, biosphere would be nice, I've thought about it. Totally agree about tough desiderata, it's a really hard abstraction to make. That's exactly why I've asked for help here, though 😁 – Juan Carlos Coto Mar 19 '16 at 18:45
  • 1
    What about colony? – Brad Mar 20 '16 at 10:03
  • @Brad I like that! Add it to your answer if you like. – Juan Carlos Coto Mar 20 '16 at 16:05

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Farm, as in server farm - also suggests some kind of life
  • Cluster, again, something like a server cluster, but also applicable to people/organisms which are close to each other.
  • Fabric, as in a SAN fabric, but also connotes some kind of organic nature.
  • Lake, this one is probably reaching, I know, but in big data, the term data lake is used, and might have the right connotations for your purpose.
  • Environment, as often used when referring to instances of computer equipment that are used for a specific function, e.g.: test environment, DR environment, etc. I've also heard the word rig used in this context, but its use is pretty arcane and not particularly connotative of life or community.

And another, promoted from the comments:

  • Colony, as in bees, or ants, but maybe also software agents, or components in a distributed architecture.

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