ENTRIES TAGGED "complexity"

Everything is distributed

How do we manage systems that are too large to understand, too complex to control, and that fail in unpredictable ways?

Complexity

“What is surprising is not that there are so many accidents. It is that there are so few. The thing that amazes you is not that your system goes down sometimes, it’s that it is up at all.”—Richard Cook

In September 2007, Jean Bookout, 76, was driving her Toyota Camry down an unfamiliar road in Oklahoma, with her friend Barbara Schwarz seated next to her on the passenger side. Suddenly, the Camry began to accelerate on its own. Bookout tried hitting the brakes, applying the emergency brake, but the car continued to accelerate. The car eventually collided with an embankment, injuring Bookout and killing Schwarz. In a subsequent legal case, lawyers for Toyota pointed to the most common of culprits in these types of accidents: human error. “Sometimes people make mistakes while driving their cars,” one of the lawyers claimed. Bookout was older, the road was unfamiliar, these tragic things happen. Read more…

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Four short links: 7 February 2013

Four short links: 7 February 2013

SCADA 0-Day, Complexity Course, ToS Tracking, and Custom Manufacturing Prostheses

  1. Tridium Niagara (Wired) — A critical vulnerability discovered in an industrial control system used widely by the military, hospitals and others would allow attackers to remotely control electronic door locks, lighting systems, elevators, electricity and boiler systems, video surveillance cameras, alarms and other critical building facilities, say two security researchers. cf the SANS SCADA conference.
  2. Santa Fe Institute Course: Introduction to Complexity — 11 week course on understanding complex systems: dynamics, chaos, fractals, information theory, self-organization, agent-based modeling, and networks. (via BoingBoing)
  3. Terms of Service Changes — a site that tracks changes to terms of service. (via Andy Baio)
  4. 3D Printing a Replacement Hand for a 5 Year Old Boy (Ars Technica) — the designs are on Thingiverse. For more, see their blog.
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Complexity fails: A lesson from storage simplification

Complexity fails: A lesson from storage simplification

Storage architectures show simplicity's power and how to build clouds at scale.

Simple systems scale effectively, while complex systems struggle to overcome the multiplicative effect of potential failure points. This shows us why the most reliable and scalable clouds are those made up of fewer, simpler parts.

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Four short links: 30 June 2010

Four short links: 30 June 2010

Ebook Sharing, Distributed Labour Laws, and Two Graduation Speeches

  1. Publishers Who Don’t Know History … (Cory Ondrejka) — interesting thoughts on publishing. Friends share, borrow, and recommend books. Currently, publishers are generally being stupid about this.
  2. Regulating Distributed Work — should Mechanical Turk and so on have specific labour laws? This is the case in favour.
  3. We Are What We Choose — Jeff Bezos’s graduation speech to Princeton’s Class of 2010. Well worth reading.
  4. The Velluvial Matrix (New Yorker) — Atul Gawande’s graduation speech to Stanford’s School of Medicine. The truth is that the volume and complexity of the knowledge that we need to master has grown exponentially beyond our capacity as individuals. Worse, the fear is that the knowledge has grown beyond our capacity as a society. When we talk about the uncontrollable explosion in the costs of health care in America, for instance—about the reality that we in medicine are gradually bankrupting the country—we’re not talking about a problem rooted in economics. We’re talking about a problem rooted in scientific complexity. (via agpublic on Twitter)
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