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Control systems must increasingly be designed to involve collections of hardware and software components, both of which may evolve over the lifetime of the system, and which are expected to provide self-managing, adaptive, autonomic behaviour. Understanding the behaviour such a system will exhibit under any specific conditions is a significant design challenge. We present a model derived from approaches to modelling dynamical systems in which the adaptive behaviour of an autonomic system may be described and analysed as a whole. We explain our ideas with reference to a hybrid hardware/software system, and argue that it generalises to other classes of autonomic systems.