An arrangement in a data processing system which comprises a multiplicity of active components, or entities, such as processors, I/O devices, channels, etc., that have overlapping but not necessarily identical capabilities wherein there is enabled an automatic selection of an active entity for the execution of a chosen task by the use of hardware. In this regard, each active entity has associated therewith a capability factor, or vector, wherein each discrete position of the vector is related to a particular capability of the component, each capability being assigned an individual power weight. It is stipulated that a requirement vector be given as part of the specification of each task, the requirement vector being the same length as the capability vector, registered positions in the requirement and capability vectors pertaining to the same capability. In order to enable the selection of one of a number of active entities capable of executing a given task, each active entity is provided with a power index contained in a power vector. All of the power vectors respectively have the same number of positions, the latter number being at least equal to the greatest number of capabilities possessed by any entity in the system. When a plurality of active entities are available at any given time to execute a task offered for execution, an automatic selection is made to provide, for the execution of the task, that available properly capable active entity which has the lowest power index, the power index being the sum of the weights of the capabilities of a given active entity as set forth in its power vector.