Computer science as a discipline is pretty new, only a couple of decades old. So it keeps on reinventing itself, which makes it hard to follow on the current best practices. It’s not easy to understand how to adopt a new idea to one own “system” or company.
The human body is an amazing system. Optimized over a couple of million years, it seems to work pretty well. Scholar and statistician Nassim Taleb is a huge fan of nature, and as I recently reread some of his work, what stuck with me is the level of decentralization that nature built into our bodies.
We have two kidneys and if one fails, things will be fine. I tore one of the ligaments in my feet and luckily nature provided me with three so I can go on as if nothing happened.
It also occurred to me that most of the revolutions happening in technology companies, microservices, data meshes, or micro frontends really are all coming down to this one fundamental idea that nature has been applying for millions of years: Decentralization.
What is that exactly? I found this quote which I like:
“A strict definition of decentralized systems could be that each system in the structure must fulfill specified demands on interaction with other systems, but it should be possible to develop (and change) the inner structure in each system, including data storage, without dependencies to other systems, as long as the specified interaction stands. It must for instance be possible to insert systems of different origins into the structure. The main condition is that each system must interact with other systems as specified.” – Mats-Åke Hugoson, “Centralized versus Decentralized Information Systems A Historical Flashback”
Computer science as a discipline is pretty new, only a couple of decades old. So it keeps on reinventing itself, which makes it hard to follow on the current best practices. It’s not easy to understand how to adopt a new idea to one own “system” or company. In the cases of trends like microservices, data meshes, or micro frontends, however, I think we can simply look at the timeless principles which have been underlying the idea of decentralization in nature all along.
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