Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
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White Paper

Eight Architecture Lessons from History

  • January 2004
  • This 2004 whitepaper offers eight lessons from history for the software architecture field, drawn from peer fields i.e. Military, Civil, Finance, Mathematics, Astronomy, Social and Medical.
  • Software Architecture
  • Publisher: Software Engineering Institute
  • Abstract

    Historians are known for their reluctance to use the past to predict the future. It's often possible to predict change a few years forward, but after that new developments start to interact, and even the most informed person can't speculate past these events with any hope of accuracy. However, historians do argue that, while the past can't predict, it does provide an "essential guide" to understanding the future.

    It has been about 40 years since the term 'Architecture' was introduced in the computer/information technology context. What does 40 years of history offer in terms of lessons learnt and future guidance? More importantly, what lessons can IT architecture learn from some of its peer fields i.e. Military, Civil, Finance, Mathematics, Astronomy, Social and Medical. The answer: quite a bit.

    To put in context, Civil, Finance and Military fields command a combined history of more than five millenniums. Knowledge of history is quite essential in fields like finance, military, law and diplomacy. As we will see in this article, knowledge of history can be quite important for IT as well.

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