Complexity Management—The Other Challenge To Information Networking

The vision of Information Networking is access to information at any time, from any place, in any volume, and in any form. This vision calls for a global network of distributed, interworking, high-speed communications and computing capabilities. Fiber optic technology addresses one part of the Information Networking challenge—the need for huge bandwidths. But another major challenge is to develop the system and software architectures needed to manage the enormous complexity of a global information network. Progress in this area has been slower than in fiber optic technology, and it has been far slower than progress in computer processor speeds. Why is this so? In a word, the problem is complexity. This paper describes the complexity management challenge in general terms and one of the efforts underway to meet it. It also describes the information marketplace that awaits the emergence of a solution.

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