Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland has been a source of inspiration for me and many others concerning a specific aspect of complex systems. This aspect is one that in my view is essential if we want to realise the quantum leap in complexity that we need: reflection. Reflection is that property of systems that enable them to speak about themselves. An excellent introduction to reflection is the famous book by Douglas Hofstaedter: Gödel Escher Bach. The living brain...

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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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The Importance of Metaphors

Metaphors have a profound impact on the effectiveness (or lack of it…) of your solutions. Especially for business modelling the choice of the right metaphor can have benefits you would not have expected. This is because modelling in general and business modelling especially suffers from symptoms caused by an endemic use of the wrong metaphors. The unconscious use of metaphors is detrimental, and handicaps us in exploiting the possibilities a specific technology or invention offers, to be...

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Lossless Modeling

Or: why models don’t need to be simpler than the thing they model. Should they be simpler? This is what almost every definition or treatise on models and the art of modelling argues: models should be simpler than the thing they model. Otherwise, what’s the use? The darned thing is too complex, right? So we create a model, we factor out the parts we don’t need, we are left with the model containing those aspects of the real thing we need and nothing more, and the world seems manageable...

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Why use UML for Business Modeling

What we generally see when we look at tools for business modelling is an attempt to visualise the flow of activities in an organisation. I once heard a consultant from a workflow tool vendor proudly say that: “Now finally the managing director understood what was really happening in his organisation!” We don’t want to argue that this consultant was entirely wrong. In fact, workflow modelling has helped many organisations to finally get a grip on their processes, and took important...

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The Rise and Fall of OMT

(This article has originally been published in the Spring ’96 ING Component Architecture newsletter – ICA) Back ten years or so, when I started dabbling in object technology, I could afford to be some kind of a “software hippie”. I’m sure you know the kind. They pop up every now and then, even in respected software companies (I didn’t name one, did I?). They radiated the unrelenting optimistic attitude that melted the software crisis, budget restrictions and management dedicated to...

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The Beehive Simulation — an ecological simulation

The article describes the use of a combination of simulation and knowledge system techniques for an ecological simulation application. The purpose of the project was ultimately to provide an environmental monitor that could make statements on pollution events from data gathered from insects, esp. bees, since they are so very sensitive to environmental disturbances. This article was written as a research paper for this project on the Faculty of Management, University of Groningen, The Netherlands....

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A Beehive Simulator

A Beehive Simulator for teaching and research by Ap Rutges and Rob Vens Copyright © 1991 by A. Rutges & R.W. Vens Paper presented at the WACRA ’91 Conference Berlin, June 30 – July 3, 1991. It discusses a strategy for using a combination of computer simulation and knowledge system techniques for managing change with a Beehive Simulator example. Published in Managing Change With Cases, Simulations, Games and Other Interactive Methods (Case method research & application). Note: This...

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