Eric Nivel and Kristinn R. Thorisson. Lacking an operational definition of autonomy has considerably weakened the concept's impact in systems engineering. Most current “autonomous” systems are built to operate in conditions more or less fully described a priori, which is insufficient for achieving highly autonomous systems that adapt efficiently to unforeseen situations. In an effort to clarify the nature of autonomy we propose an operational definition of autonomy: a self-programming process. We introduce Ikon Flux, a proto-architecture for self-programming systems and we describe how it meets key requirements for the construction of such systems.