A Theory of Voluntary Cooperation
Imagine a simple set of principles that could help you to understand how parts combine to become a whole, and how each part sees the whole from its own perspective. If such principles were any good, it shouldn't matter whether we're talking about humans in a team, birds in a flock, computers in a datacenter, or cogs in a Swiss watch. A theory of cooperation ought to be pretty universal, so we could apply it both to technology and to the workplace. Such principles are the subject of Promise Theory. The goal of Promise Theory is to reveal the behaviour of a whole from the sum of its parts, taking the viewpoint of the parts rather than the whole.
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The main theme of my work, since 1998 has been the understanding and scaling of human-computer systems, in particular the idea of self-maintaining, `smart' functional infrastructure, using embedded information technology. Since 2007, I have been working on two main subjects: the formalization of the concepts and applications of Promise Theory (largely with Jan Bergstra) and the question of Knowledge Management for IT infrasructure, particularly semantic networks. This is in continuation of previous work on the dynamics and semantics of information infrastructure for pervasive computing or "Internet of Things".
In the overlap between Promises and Knowledge, I got interested in BDIM "Business Driven IT Management", or what it means to make IT business relevant (thanks for Claudio Bartolini). Following talks by Claudio, Jacques Sauve and John Wilkes in 2006, I drafted this sketch (DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1080.0800) was used as an outline of a keynote held at NOMS in Brasil in 2008, which was the start of using Promise Theory to describe this business alignment, and later DevOps.
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