Design Principles for the Immune System and Other Distributed Autonomous Systems is the first book to examine the inner workings of such a variety of distributed autonomous systems--from insect colonies to high level computer programs to the immune system. It offers insight into the fascinating world of these systems that emerge from the interactions of seemingly autonomous components and brings us up-to-date on the state of research in these areas. Using the immune system and certain aspects of its functions as a primary model, this book examines many of the most interesting and troubling questions posed by complex systems. How do systems choose the right set of agents to perform appropriate actions with appropriate intensities at appropriate times? How in the immune system, ant colonies and metabolic networks does the diffusion and binding of a large variety of chemicals to their receptors permit coordination of system action? What advantages drive the various systems to complexity, and by what mechanisms do the systems cope with the tendency toward unwieldiness and randomness of large complex systems?