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Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Are Best Triz-For-Software Sources?

This was the question posed at TRIZ-JOURNAL.

My response that I posted to the question - I am cross posting below.

Hi Eric,
The best source of information for TRIZ for software innovation in my opinion will always be "Yet to come". Having said that I would like to add that TRIZ as a philosophy as well as theory can be applied as such to any problem - it is artificial to distinguish between fields, for example, software, manufacturing, automotive etc. At the higher level all fields are similar as per TRIZ. I will go to the extent that may be at some higher level they may be same, it is really the problem of abstraction - which we need to overcome in our mind.
So in essence what I am saying is all existing sources of information for TRIZ can be sources of software innovation. Let us say about evolutionary trends - TRIZ recognized some trends in systems. Cant we study and find what are the trends in Information Technology - let us say, (A) Information Representation - Bits, Bytes, Hexadecimal, Mnemonics (assembly language), Higher Level languages, data variables, data structures, files, data bases, distributed data bases, knowledge bases, XML, etc (B) Information Processing - Data, information, knowledge (rules), business intelligence, extracting co-relations, data visualization, Decision enabling knowledge (C) Information Communication - data communication, information networks, knowledge networks, social computing. Now if we add what are the methods to perform all these functions we have codified the IT knowledge for software development engineers.
Let us look at TRIZ concept of IDEALITY - TRIZ talks about ideality as function achived without cost and no adverse impact to the system. For software systems, ideality assumes a slightly different meaning - which we are discussing at TRIZ INDIA FORUM ( - Software as you know (Mythical Man Month, brooks) is an representation of conceptual construct. Since the function of a software system itself evolves over time and since there is no static definition of function of s software system, it becomes imperative to look at system structure - the ideal system is the so called least coupled system of highly cohesive software elements. This lead us to concepts of coupling and cohesion which are anyway fundamental to Software design.
In essence my response is that instead of looking for sources on TRIZ for software it may be more appropriate to understand TRIZ and then see how software systems can be designed using TRIZ concepts.
My two cents!

Category Theory - Developing complex modularized spread sheets

Oxford, UK, Category Theory - a branch of mathematics has been used by a researcher Jocelyn Paine to set up a Web-based software library for Excel users.

It is very interesting to see the spreadsheet horror stories at this link that prompted Paine to create the robust modularized web based excel library.

Only time will tell how the experiment goes. It may be of value if each module comes up with clear documentation about who did it for what purpose and what errors have been rectified. May be a Wiki approach can help. Can this be a web service - just thinking aloud?

Anyway Paine has an (Dot) org site at

His before and after modularity cartoons also I liked. The quotes on why modularize are also of interest

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