Thursday, February 12, 2009

Information Systems and the Sisyphus Syndrome

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was condemned to an eternal punishment of hard labor in which his task was to roll a boulder uphill only to have it roll back down before reaching the summit.

Variations on the "Sisyphus Syndrome" have been applied to several arenas such as the healthcare industry, education, business, and even Software Development.


The Information Systems Sisyphus Syndrome is another prevalent and common example in many of today's IT Systems. Too often data is pushed through the system, only to never arrive at its final destination. The multiple hops across routers in networks, the aggregation of data obtained from multiple data systems, and the Basic Information Theroem (B.I.T.) that Information Decays are all examples of problems with pushing data through the system.


So why design your systems to push information uphill thru the system? Systems always tend to obey the the Systems Law of Gravity (S.L.o.G.) in which always information flows better downhill through the system. Obviously this is easier then it sounds, but when designing a system, this must be one of the basic foundation in its architecture.
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