The slides for the keynotes are available in the archives.
The Power of Modularity: The Financial Consequences of Computer and Code Architecture
Prof. Carliss Baldwin (Harvard Business School)
In the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, computer designers created a series of “option-rich modular design architectures” in both hardware and software. But a pure design is, strictly speaking, only an idea. Unless the design is reified—made real, brought into reality—it cannot affect the physical world and cannot be used or consumed. In order to affect the world and be valued, a design idea must be first completed and then made into something. Those actions in turn require human effort and human organization.
Designs need the economy for several purposes:
- to implement design processes so that the designs can be completed;
- to carry out design instructions so that the designs can be realized;
- to transfer artifacts to users who value them; and
- to get designers and producers paid for their efforts.
Designs influence the economy by creating perceptions of financial value. These perceptions in turn motivate investment and the creation of new economic institutions. Option-rich and modular architectures are extremely effective conduits of value, but their evolution may be difficult to control. In this talk, I will adopt the “designs’ point of view” in order to understand the economic institutions and mechanisms by which new designs and new artifacts come into existence.
Professor Baldwin is the William L. White Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. With Kim B. Clark, she is involved in a multi-year project to study the process of design and its impact on the structure of the computer industry. She and Clark have authored Design Rules: The Power of Modularity, the first of a projected two volumes on this topic. Volume 2, in progress, will focus on Patterns of Competition. A specialist in corporate finance and real option theory, Baldwin received a bachelor's degree in economics from MIT and MBA and DBA degrees from Harvard Business School. She is presently active in Harvard’s Ph.D program in Information, Technology and Management, a program jointly sponsored by the Business School and the Division of Engineering and Applied Science of the university.
Design Beyond Human Abilities
Dr. Richard P. Gabriel (Sun Microsystems Laboratories)
For 50 years we've been developing a science and
practice of software based on understandings and
explorations of software systems of modest
size-centering on systems of a few tens of
thousands of lines of code but extending up to
about 50 million lines. Scale makes a difference:
scale of time and of size. The prospect of ultra
large scale software systems—systems with perhaps
trillions of lines of code encompassing millions
of processors, ranging from sensors the size of
dust to the largest servers, with much of it with
real-time requirements-will change everything.
Imagine, if you can, how such systems will be
made. Can they truly be said to be designed at
all? The realities of such systems will force us
to re-examine the very foundations of computing
and software engineering; our concepts of
abstraction, modularity, information hiding, pure
static typing, and many other things will need to
be refined, expanded, or reformulated. Consider,
further, that such systems in normal
circumstances cannot be routinely reinstalled nor
globally rebooted, and when used in life-critical
situations, they must not stop. Data must be
readable and usable for decades, even as
standards and hardware changes.
This talk will examine the nature of such
systems, especially how they are designed, built,
and what is needed to keep them running. We'll
take both a philosophical and technical look at
some of the aspects of ultra large scale software
that make us need to revise our foundations and
what those revisions will be like.
Dr. Gabriel is a Distinguished Engineer and principal investigator of a small research group at Sun Microsystems Laboratories looking at the architecture, design, and implementation of extraordinarily large, self-sustaining systems. He is the award-winning author of four books and a poetry chapbook. He lives in California.
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