The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
Correction: No. 165 - 1 April 2016
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In This Issue
Industrial Internet Testbeds
U.S. Government Source Code Policy
Team Dynamics
Multiple Vocabularies in Modeling
Jennifer Rexford
The Accidental Taxonomist 2nd Ed.
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Industrial Internet Testbeds
One of the most interesting aspects of the recent Industrial Internet Consortium member meeting (March 14-17 in Reston, Va.) was a fast-paced, day-long review of the various testbeds created jointly by small groups of members to demonstrate the integration of their solutions and ascertain the usefulness of the combined solution.

Some testbeds are related to a specific industry, such as manufacturing or health care. Others are "horizontal" -- they concern capabilities required in multiple sectors, such as high-speed networks with predictable message delivery times.

While the details and code of the testbeds are reserved for IIC members, substantial descriptions of the 12 approved testbeds (more are on the way) can be accessed from this page.
U.S. Government Source Code Policy
This may be an unprecedented example of openness in seeking public comments on a policy in the making. On March 10, the White House released for public comment a draft Federal Source Code Policy "to support improved access to custom software code." But instead of being a traditional press release, the announcement was posted as an entry in the blog of the U.S. CIO, Tony Scott. And instead of pointing to some obscure way of signing up to download the policy and submit comments, it was posted on GitHub where users can open issues and make comments online.

As to the substance of the policy, it mostly has to do with an "open-source by default" preference. Many of the issues raised so far are from people who want to go further and advocate the sole use of free and open-source software (FOSS).
Why Teams Thrive or Falter
The New York Times published an analysis of an extensive Google study, started in 2012, to find out what makes the best work teams function. Key factors were that there was equity in participation ("conversation turn-taking") and people with high degrees of "social sensitivity" (allowing them to detect how other people reacted to what was going on or what they said or did).

Vince Polley of KnowConnect, who alerted us to this article, comments: "This is a fascinating article, with clear implications for KM (Knowledge Management) and CoP (Communities of Practice) operations."
Modeling across Multiple Languages
While much IT work (with the emphasis on "T") is only described using the English language, models of the real world often need to exist in local natural languages. Yet most modeling language standards, such as UML or BPMN, only describe their concepts using English terms, which are often translated without any consistency by modelers when they talk to business stakeholders.

The Object Management Group just issued a Request for Proposal for a Multiple Vocabulary Facility (MVF) to address this issue. If you are interested in modeling concepts, you should find the description and requirements interesting even if you have no intention to make a submission. Read the preamble before Section 1 (pages 1-2), then skip to Section 6 (pages 19-33).
Words from an Internet Expert
Jennifer Rexford, chair of the Computer Science Department at Princeton University, was featured in the "People of ACM" column on March 17. In the interview, she comments on Internet reliability and scalability, which are her own research interests, as well as on the growth of computer science curricula and what areas Princeton is expanding.
The Accidental Taxonomist, v2
Heather Hedden, who published her eminently readable book on taxonomy in 2010, just issued an extensively revised second edition of "The Accidental Taxonomist". Taxonomy is primarily used in content management and information architecture, but it has had very concrete impacts, such as boosting sales on e-commerce Web sites where the products are grouped in menu categories the same way the aisles are organized in the physical store (this was an actual Target case study presented at the Taxonomy Boot Camp conference a few years ago). Most organizations don't have enough steady taxonomy work to employ a full-time, trained taxonomist with a master's degree in library and information sciences (MLIS), making many of us amateur practitioners -- but enlightened ones thanks to Ms. Hedden's work.
Seen Recently...
"Want to create your very own Tay-level Twitter bot disaster? Microsoft has a framework for that!"
-- Tweeted by Alex Barkan, @unbuffered