Month: June 2006

Scalable Systems

I know of only two infinitely scalable systems ever built. One we know, and many people will correctly guess this when asked. It is the internet. The internet started up October 29, 1969 when the first two systems, located in Stanford University and the University of California, connected. Since then, this network has been growing continually: October 1969: 2 December 1969: 4 December 1971: 23 October 1972: ARPANET went public with a demo linking computers in 40 different locations. currently:...

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In his keynote speech on Oopsla 1997 (see link below) Alan Kay talked about the primary need for software development to deal with scalability. We develop tools for making models (and software) that are very suitable to build dog houses. The misconception is that building larger structures (scaling up) entails nothing more than scaling up the dog house 100 times. Et voil√°: we have created a cathedral! Engineers know that scaling up a physical structure 100 times, means a mass that is 300,000,000...

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