Friday, March 11, 2016

systems of autonomous components

In the discussions about big data and scalability, we learned how Gunther's universal scalability law suggests scaling out.

Another way to look at vertical vs. horizontal scaling is to compare a whale to a fish school. A school of small fish has the same biomass as a blue whale. A whale takes about 5 minutes to turn 180º. On the other hand, a school of small fish switches direction in an instant. The blue whale has no escape when under attack!

A school of small fish has the same biomass as a blue whale. A whale takes about 5 minutes to turn 180º. On the other hand, a school of small fish switches direction in an instant.

Leo Lionni's 1963 picture book スイミー (Swimmy) is particularly popular in Japan because it conveys the message that together we are strong, even though we are small. This is related to the concepts of synergy and emergent property.

In the case of big data and scalability, the morale of the story is that you do not want a rigid powerful central authority, but a plurality of autonomous components orchestrated to play the same symphony, with a minimum of coherency overhead. This resonates with Industry 4.0.