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Unformatted text preview: chapter seven Collaborative systems Introduction: collaboration as a category Most of the systems discussed thus far have been the products of deliberate and centrally controlled development efforts. There was an identifiable client or customer (singular or plural), clearly identifiable builders, and users. Client, in the traditional sense, means the person or organization who spon- sors the architect and who has the resources and authority to construct the system of interest. The role of the architect existed, even if it was hard to trace to a particular individual or organization. The system was the result of deliberate value judgment by the client and existed under the control of the client. However, many systems are not under central control, either in their conception, their development, or their operation. The Internet is the canonical example, but many others exist, including electrical power sys- tems, multinational defense systems, joint military operations, and intelli- gent transportation systems. These systems are all collaborative in the sense that they are assembled and operate through the voluntary choices of the participants, not through the dictates of an individual client. These systems are built and operated only through a collaborative process. A problem in this area is the lack of standard terminology for categories of system. Any system is an assemblage of elements that possesses capabil- ities not possessed by an element. This is just saying that a system possesses emergent properties, indeed that possessing emergent properties is the defin- ing characteristic of a system. A microwave oven, a laptop computer, and the Internet are all systems, but each can have radically different problems in design and development. This chapter discusses systems distinguished by the voluntary nature of the systems assembly and operation. Examples of systems in this category include most intelligent transport systems, 1 military C4I and Integrated Bat- tlespace, 2 and partially autonomous ﬂexible manufacturing systems. 3 The arguments here apply to most of what are often referred to as systems-of- systems, a term some readers may prefer. One of the authors (Maier) has discussed the contrast between the concepts elsewhere. 4 '2000 CRC Press LLC What exactly is a collaborative system? In this chapter a system is a “collaborative system” when its components: 1. Fulfill valid purposes in their own right, and continue to operate to fulfill those purposes if disassembled from the overall system 2. Are managed (at least in part) for their own purposes rather than the purposes of the whole; the component systems are separately ac- quired and integrated but maintain a continuing operational existence independent of the collaborative system Misclassification as a “conventional” system vs. a collaborative system (or vice versa) leads to serious problems. Especially important is a failure to architect for robust collaboration when direct control is impossible or inad-...
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This note was uploaded on 12/17/2010 for the course MGMT 730 taught by Professor Dr.jeffreyv.nickerson during the Spring '08 term at Stevens.
- Spring '08