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Self-organization is a great concept for building scalable systems consisting of a huge number of subsystems. The primary objectives are improved scalability and dynamic adaptation to changing environmental conditions. Until now, many self-organization methods have been developed for communication networks in general and ad hoc networks in particular. Nevertheless, the term self-organization is still often misunderstood or misused. This paper contributes to the networking community by providing a better understanding of self-organization mechanisms focusing especially on the applicability in ad hoc and sensor networks. The main contributions of this paper are a clarification of the term self-organization and a categorization of self-organization methods.
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