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Category Archive for 'complex systems'

This post has been prompted by a discussion about wind power that I had recently. I have made clear that I am totally opposed to the construction of wind farms on ‘wild’ land. However, I am not opposed to wind turbines in principle. I think there is a place for a (relatively small) proportion of our […]

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Yesterday (August 16th 2016), Ford set out their goal of producing a high-volume, fully autonomous vehicle for ride sharing by 2021. This led to a number of follow-up articles including this one, which suggested that Ford’s vision would be counter-productive and would lead to a major drop in the number of privately owned vehicles and […]

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I’ve written this post from a Scottish perspective and specifically discuss the digital skills shortage in Scotland. However, I think that the problem is much wider, government responses everywhere are equally unimaginative and that innovative approaches to continuous adult education are required across the world. It is generally accepted that there is a worldwide shortage […]

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In 1981, Peter Checkland, a systems engineer published a book that all software engineers should read. It’s called Systems Thinking, Systems Practice and it documents the fundamental basis of Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology. All software engineers should read this book because, although it doesn’t mention software, it explains why software engineering is not like other […]

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About a year ago, I wrote a post expressing my concern that the implications for Government IT systems of Scottish independence had not been considered by politicians. Now, after a clear vote in Scotland against independence, a new set of proposals have been unveiled that, amongst other things, devolve income tax revenues to Scotland as […]

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I gave a talk recently about complexity and large-scale systems. In the discussion following the talk, one of the audience suggested that what we should be doing is making our systems simpler, not more complex. Simplicity is one of the Holy Grails of computer science. Edsger Dijkstra, a pioneering computer scientist, emphasised the importance of […]

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The ‘Internet of Things’ is now a fashionable buzzword and all sort of predictions are being made about how all sorts of devices from fridges to light switches and even toilets will, in future, be connected to the Internet. From your smartphone, you’ll be able to check the contents of your fridge, turn lights and […]

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In the press today, it was suggested that, in the event of a ‘yes’ vote for Scottish independence, then ‘Independence Day’ will be 24th March 2016, 18 months after the referendum in September 2014. I don’t want to go into my views on the pros and cons of Scottish independence here or of the conditions […]

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I have been reading a new book by Ivar Jacobsen, a pioneer in the development of object-oriented methods and the UML, and colleagues entitled ‘The Essence of Software Engineering: Applying the SEMAT Kernel’. This book looks as software engineering from a rather different way from other approaches and describes a model of software engineering which […]

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Around the world, governments are ‘going digital’. Governments have the aim of converting paper-based services to citizens to digital services and hence both save money and improve the quality of service delivered. It’s arguable whether or not digital services will achieve either of these aims but that’s not the subject of this post. What I […]

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