Brain Design-Inspired Computing Is Here

Computing inspired by the design of brains is rapidly progressing. Very rapidly. Companies like IBM and Qualcomm are financing neurochip projects, and in the case of IBM’s Cognitive Computing push, it may be betting its own future on neuromorphic technology. Europe is investing US $1.3 billion in the Human Brain Project, which sets out to simulate the human brain. Not to be left behind, the US announced in 2013 it is investing $300 million in its own Brain Initiative with similar objectives. Researchers in the UK, Canada, at Stanford University, and at DARPA are all working on various aspects of the neuromorphic computing puzzle, and are now publishing their results. Deep thinkers like Stephen Hawking and tech billionaires like Bill Gates and Elon Musk ominously warn about the …

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Call for Papers: Infrastructure as a Service -- Ready for Liftoff?

The uncertain future of cloud computing seems to have stabilized among IT leaders with the acceptance of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS is here to stay in many organizations, especially smaller firms and startups, and will be the dominant form of corporate IT infrastructure in the coming years. With the breaking of Moore’s Law (at least for the foreseeable future and with regard to silicon-based computing), IaaS may provide everyday computing cost benefits thanks to the efficiencies large scale dedicated vendors can provide. But many organizations, most notably the larger and more conservative companies, are still on the fence about moving their infrastructure to an IaaS model. IaaS can be deployed in different models …

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Welcome to Nine (!) New Cutter Experts

The old adage “When it rains, it pours” certainly applies to the past couple of months at Cutter Consortium. We’ve added a cadre of really impressive experts to our roster. Cutter clients will have the opportunity to work with these folks, access their research, bring them in house for consulting/training, and interact with them live through Cutter events. And readers of this blog will see their latest thinking right here. (First among them is James Mitchell, with his post on some myths of IT commoditization.) Join us in welcoming: Edgar Barroso Gerhard Friedrich Kent Graziano Doug McDavid Paul Miller James Mitchell Vinay Venkatraman Stijn Viaene Phil Wisoff Watch this space over the next weeks for …

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If you’ve been following my series of posts about ALM, you know that the Lean concept of flow is one of ALM’s two central pillars. (The other is alignment, an indicator of the likelihood that the software organization is delivering value.) Whenever I talk about anything related to Lean, I’m always a little nervous. People misinterpret Lean frequently, with highly destructive consequences, so putting a Lean frame around ALM is almost asking for trouble. The most frequent distortion of Lean that I’ve seen in software development is the following syllogism: Lean tells us that we should reduce waste. Unused capacity is a form of waste. Therefore, we should maximize the utilization of our capacity. To …

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The New Needs of Digital Business

Digital business requires change across a very wide range of areas. There is an increasing use of storage, vastly expanded networking requirements, and a rise in the virtualization of all equipment. Digital systems deployed on the network can be replicated, modeled, and situated anywhere, so we have seen virtual networks, virtual servers, virtual mobile solutions, and virtual workstations of all types. Virtualization creates a need for new management techniques that control, replicate, and abandon virtual components on an automatic basis and manage their various interactions. Information technology is moving outside the firm to the public cloud, either directly or connected through a hybrid cloud mechanism. All aspects of IT are becoming increasingly connected to all …

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[For some related posts about application lifecycle management, click here and here. For my video series on ALM, click here.] Software teams are usually very responsive either to their own organization or the customer; it’s harder to find a team that is good at responding to cues from both. For example, I’ve known teams within corporate IT that are so enmeshed with their customer that the business, for all practical purposes, manages and runs them. I’ve also seen teams in software companies that are primed to respond every time an executive clears her throat, but far less responsive to customer issues. In part, these behaviors are the result of corporate culture: for example, in vertically-oriented …

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The Data Lake as an Exploration Platform

The data lake is an attractive use case for enterprises seeking to capitalize on Hadoop’s big data processing capabilities. This is because it offers a platform for solving a major problem affecting most organizations: how to collect, store, and assimilate a range of data that exists in multiple, varying, and often incompatible formats strung out across the organization in different sources and file systems. In the data lake scenario, Hadoop serves as a repository for managing multiple kinds of data: structured, unstructured, and semistructured. But what do you do with all this data once you get it into Hadoop? After all, unless it is used to gain some sort of business value, the data lake …

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Requirements Are An ALM Problem 100% Of The Time

Say that you had a recurring problem with your car. Every time you stalled, the radio was playing. While there might be other contributing factors, such as running the air conditioning, or recharging your phone through the car, you’d be inclined to think that the radio is a major contributing factor. The capacity of the car’s electrical system might be the ultimate culprit, but you’d also be suspicious that the radio is drawing far too much power, all by itself. In 100% of the application lifecycle management (ALM) assessments that I’ve done for clients, requirements are one of the major contributing factors to ALM problems. (If you want to know the assumptions that go into …

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Call for Papers: How Wearables Will Impact Corporate Technology, Business, Social, and Legal Landscapes

Wearable devices like smart watches (Apple Watch, Samsung Gear, etc.), activity/fitness trackers (FitBit, JawBone, etc.), smart badges for location tracking and security (Ekahaus), and smart glasses (Google Glass, Vuzix, etc.) are generating considerable interest in the consumer and business worlds. Recently, new types of wearables have also appeared, including “Smart fabrics/clothing” and virtual reality headsets. Wearables offer a host of opportunities, ranging from creating a new touchpoint for companies to engage directly with customers to changing the way healthcare is provided and medical research is conducted. Moreover, the use of wearable devices to assist employees with their jobs is now underway and is expected to advance in the near future. In short, wearables are making …

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Agile Development Requires Agile Staffing

The impacts of the growing agility requirements within staffing cross a broad territory, currently limited only by the relatively small number of individuals involved. However, these impacts will continue and likely grow in importance as Agile principles become prevalent. Some potential issues and needs to look out for include: Revising existing job descriptions and establishing new specialties. Businesses should create new Agile jobs, such as product owner and ScrumMaster. These are not management jobs in the traditional sense, but they do require resources and responsibilities. Older project management positions should be altered or eliminated. Similarly, Agile development team members should develop collaboration and communications skills and may need training in the use of collaborative technologies, particularly …

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