Thursday, July 15, 2010

Elegance In Its Simplicity - MTConnect At The Emerging Technology Center - IMTS 2010

Elegance In Its Simplicity - MTConnect At The Emerging Technology Center - IMTS 2010

One of my favorite descriptions of the famous Unix  operating system was when I heard it described by Neil Groundwater (the first user of Unix outside the state of New Jersey) as "elegant in its simplicity".   If you are not familiar with Unix, it is likely because you don't realize which operating systems are based on Unix.   The Internet runs on Unix. Fact.  The reason this is true is because there are so many version of the open source operating system out there that it is easy to lose count.  Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Android, Chrome, the list just goes on and on.   The reason Unix is "elegant in its simplicity" is that it was designed from the ground up to be simple, yet extremely scalable.  This is like designing a boat that can have one driver with a small electric engine that can easily expand to a huge cruise ship with 1,000s of passengers and crew.  

This brings me to another favorite phrase from Mike O'Dell (one of the Internet gods) who likes to say, "scaling is ALWAYS the problem".  Scaling can mean creating a very large system or a very large network with lots and lots of systems  - just like the global Internet is today.  Let's put scaling in more mundane terms, imagine the level of planning you would have to go through if you were planning on taking your family of five on a weekend vacation versus taking 180 of your direct relatives on a month long global vacation.  Yes, that thought should scare you :-)

What does this have to do with MTConnect?   Because MTConnect was designed from the ground up to be both "elegant in its simplicity"  with the ability to SCALE.  How was this done?  Double-top secret, proprietary, closed source and expensive code?  No, of course not.  MTConnect was built, exactly like Unix, by realizing that keeping things simple will translate into an elegance that allows the ability to scale.  MTConnect is built upon the same technology that we all know and love on the Internet today - http, XML and TCP/IP.  If you have never heard of those three do not worry, because if you have ever used a browser you have used all three of those technologies.    As Doug Woods, President of AMT The Association For Manufacturing Technology likes to say about "MTConnect - Different Devices, Common Connection."   MTConnect also can take advantage of the same security that everyone is familiar with today. 

What does this mean to you as an IMTS 2010 attendee?  Stop by the Emerging Technology Center and ask to speak to Paul Warndorf, Will Sobel or Dave Edstrom and we will show you how MTConnect is  "elegant in its simplicity"  with the ability to SCALE.  MTConnect, along with Cloud Computing, additive technologies and nanotechnology will be showcased in the Emerging Technology Center (ETC) this year at IMTS 2010. Please stop by!   
NOTE: This article was written for the IMTS Insider this week.