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Category Archive for 'systems engineering'

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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My last post on top-down development attracted a lot of attention from the Twittersphere and lots of comments. The vast majority of these were constructive, whether they agreed with me or not.  I am delighted that the post sparked such a response because we can only improve approaches through challenge and discussion.  It’s well worth […]

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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 wrote the 1st edition of my book on software engineering at the beginning of the 1980s when there was no doubt what software engineering was about. The ideas underlying software engineering then came from military and aerospace systems. Large business systems were built using the same approach so there was no ambiguity about what […]

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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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I recently re-read Mark Maier’s now classic systems engineering paper ‘ ‘Architecting Principles for Systems of Systems’. In that paper, Maier suggests that the difference between a general system and a system of systems are that some of the elements of an SoS are operationally and managerially independent. This means that these systems can operate […]

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I’ve been reading a lot about cloud security today as, perhaps rather hastily, I offered to lead a discussion on my gut feeling that there is really nothing new in cloud security.  When you read articles on this topic, what strikes you is that they focus on security technicalities rather than the security risks that […]

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