Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Industrial Revolution and Computer Architecture

Integration/Centralization/Concentration was one of the key features of Industrial Revolution (IR). By this term I not only mean changes in methods of production, distribution or economy in general, but the whole change that took in the world view during those times. Alvin Toffler termed it as Second Wave because it was not a single phenomenon or a single independent variable over which other depended.

Nation States, Factories, Corporate Organizations show high degree if concentration activities. Earlier the geography was divided amongst kingdoms which were more or less a power mesh(mess) amongst king and nobles and allegiances of landlords. The control of the powerful diminished with the distance from the power source. Second Wave gave birth to nation state were the control was strictly defined with barb wired or precisely defined geographical areas of a nation, similar laws of a single nation, an integrated economy. A behemoth represented by single entity a monarch/president/prime minister.

Factories where a huge place where all the raw material was "concentrated" for production and then distributed there after. The power structure of corporate was clearly defined in a central head/group with clear cut heirarchical roles.

We can find few analogies in Computer Architecure as well. What we have as a computer is a three stage device Input/Processing/ Output. For processing we have a microprocessor or a Central Processing Unit. where all the inputs are concentrated to be dealt with.

Although we are now talking of distributed computing where the processing load is distributed but this processing is different from that one. This one is a more higher level of information dealing where in a high level query or a http request may be distributed. But it seems more of the same we have lots of CPUs distributed over.

The earler devices are "peripherals" or the boundaries of this central scheme. Minial state subjects that are to be kept at the "periphery".

What i want to say is that we have to move to a different type of processing at the most basic level . We have to change our strictly defined views of computation as number crunching or binary jugglery and secondly find computation in different physical processes may be.

We can have a host of devices each a separate entity in itself with minimal, small processing unit and through this decentralized, fragmented network a convergence/meaning should emerge.

I know the last part of this blog is highly vague and absurd but these are jsut my thoughts not a whitepaper..............

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