Paradigm Shifts in IT
"The Next Logical Revolution" may be thought of as the culmination of a general movement towards making intelligent computational resources conveniently and universally accessible.
In the future we will take for granted access to a global network providing information and intelligent problem solving.
There will be many stages in our advance toward that position, here are three of them.
This latter paradigm shift is the one which we anticipate with the phrase:
The Next Logical Revolution
- Distributed Object Orientation (OMG)
A change to how we develop software.
- Architecture for re-use
The most prominent motivation is to enable re-use in heterogenous distributed environments.
- Open Standards for Distributed Systems Integration
These cover how applications can be built from components by focussing key features such as interfaces.
- BLACK BOX described by IDL
Components are regarded as black boxes and must be supplied with interfaces described using the CORBA Interface Description Language.
- Network Computing (NCA)
Network computing goes one step further in attempting to secure a greater homogeneity in the infrastructure and hence greater flexibility about where application code is executed.
- Computation as Commodity/Utility
- water, electricity, telephone, network computing
Partly motivated by the contrast between computing and more traditional services, the aim is to get closer to supporting IT with a uniform and universally accessible computing network.
- write once, run anywhere, universal access
A cornerstone in this approach is the adoption of the Java programming language running on the Java virtual machine, which in turn is implemented on a very wide range of platforms.
- Automated Programming/Problem Solving
Both of the above "paradigm shifts" yield productivity gains in building and executing applications which are developed by human programmers.
The larger transition which particularly interests us here comes when we try to build an IT infrastructure which takes over the intellectual burden of working out exactly how our problems are to be solved.
- Specification supplements IDL
Supplementing the purely syntactic interface information currently specifiable in IDL, semantic information could be supplied, providing precise machine interpretable specification of the effects of the "black box" and enabling the automation of re-use.
- Network automates (Specification => Solution)
Gradually the process of moving from problem description either to solution (for one off problems) or to re-usable software (to enable a whole class of problems to be efficiently solved, or some process to be automated), is automated and the human contribution to building software systems focusses on determination and clarification of requirements rather than the detail of implementation.
created 97/9/18 modified 97/9/27