Feeds

Really, really big systems coming by 2027

Less porn, more work

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

It'll be the size of the internet in California, but of far less use. Parts of it already exist - we just don't know it yet. Oh, and we're going to need to re-think programming languages and design to deliver it.

No, it's not Microsoft's next Windows operating system, but the world's first Ultra Large System (ULS), which'll function like a city - always evolving and not stopping - that will debut within the next 20 years.

That's according to IBM distinguished engineer Richard Gabriel speaking at the recent QCon conference in San Francisco, California.

Of course, some might argue, we already have one ULS - the internet. Or that systems such as Google, Amazon or eBay with their massive server farms and multiple processes, can be considered ULS.

These don't match Gabriel's definition of "large". Gabriel, who specializes in architecture, design and implementation of "extraordinarily" large, self-sustaining systems, said the first ULS will be "beyond human comprehension because it's so large". Or put in more concrete terms: it would be like every single person on the planet today writing two and a half pages of Java code.

Another important difference with the internet is you "go there to cheat on your homework or read porn - these are subsets. ULS is distinct, in that it does a coherent set of things. It's the size of the internet in California, but [it's] doing less stuff."

The size and constant motion will mean "changes will have to be made while it's running. Everything is going to be failing continually, so there's no such thing as perfection or reliability." There goes the so-called "datacenter of the future" then.

Also, the ULS concept must be approached using modularity, because building such a thing from both a technological or project perspective is beyond the comprehension or the abilities of one person or one group - even today's distributed, open source projects, which Gabriel called "too small".

According to Gabriel, modularity will need to re-thought along the lines of biological organs, like the liver, that "have transparency and allow self sustaining."

Languages will also need to change, by focusing on abstraction. "One of the things we need to do is re-think the way programming language people think about software. Today it's about how the software talks to a complier. But there are other things outside the complier. We need to think of programs as abstracted, isolated things.

"Anyone alive in 1958 could understand the programming languages we have today. Physicists would be surprised by what we know in physics today. That's bad."®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
Batten down the hatches, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS due in TWO DAYS
Admins dab straining server brows in advance of Trusty Tahr's long-term support landing
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.