In Search of Certainty

In Search of Certainty : The Science of Our Information Infrastructure

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Ruling the Machines that Rule the World? Our planet's information systems have now reached a level of scale and complexity at which we can no longer simply decide how they will behave. They are so sophisticated and so interconnected that humans can neither steer nor comprehend them with certainty. Can we trust such an infrastructure to society? For more than twenty years, Mark Burgess has been one of the pioneers of the science and technology behind the operation of this information infrastructure. In this book, he explains how far we have come in our understanding of the systems, and whether we yet have the necessary knowledge to prevent them from spiralling out of control. In Search of Certainty takes the reader on a fascinating journey, from the beginnings of scientific thought to our present day, illuminating information technology as an integral part of our modern historical and cultural narrative. It lays out key challenges for the future and suggests a daring new way to think about the future governance of the vast cybernetic organism we are in process of creating. "An instant classic in computer science! 'In Search of Certainty' is a brilliant piece of work by one of the most brilliant people I've ever met. Complex systems, like modern IT services, need to be understood from a perspective very different from traditional IT practice. The answers are rooted in science and Mark Burgess exposes this science like nobody else." -- Glenn O'Donnell, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research "An incredible journey by one of the [IT] industry's most important thinkers over the past 20 years. Like everything else he's done, this is unique and astonishing in its implications." --Carolyn Rowland, NIST "Mark brings together the digital microcosm and macrocosm, the mundane and the profound, the human and the technological, in a way that is important, wonderful, and truly mind-stretching." -- Jeff Sussna, Ingineering.IT "Mark Burgess practically invented modern IT infrastructure management software. Now he has produced a revolutionary work, part personal journey, part theoretical review, as he advances the state of infrastructure science -- and our comprehension -- again. IN SEARCH OF CERTAINTY is a must-read book from a true visionary." --Christopher Little, BMC Software "There are thought leaders, and then there are thought leaders. Mark Burgess is a scientist who can talk to the real world, and has been challenging it for 20 years, with the message of science." -- Reynold Jabbour, J.P. Morgan-Chase "Holy cow! ... Mark Burgess' pioneering work in the late-1990s presaged how large scale systems were designed and operated, and it has taken the world nearly two decades to catch up with him. Ignore the design principles and patterns described in this book at your peril -- in two decades, I'm sure that it will be embedded in how every architect, developers and operations professional talks about our craft, for practitioners, suppliers and researchers alike." -- Gene Kim, Author of Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win "To err is human, to explain is Mark Burgess." -- Patrick Debois "I only got through the Introduction and Chapter 1. I was so encouraged by just those that I started applying it to organization at Joyent and forgot to come back to the book." -- Ben Rockwood, Joyent "What I liked most about the book was the vast number of topics it drew on, there are examples from a very broad array of domains. This made it very fun. ... It really is a tour de force of most interesting things that have happened for the past 500 years..." -- Sigurd Teigen, CFEngine "The book is in parts a very personal description of the world we live in, and how it evolved... the book is about a journey, a personal one. I did like that part very much." -- Sven van der Meer, Ericssonshow more

Product details

  • Paperback | 444 pages
  • 170 x 244 x 30mm | 839.99g
  • Createspace
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1492389161
  • 9781492389163
  • 1,355,731

About Mark Burgess

Mark Burgess is a British theoretical physicist, turned computer scientist, living in Oslo, Norway. He is Emeritus Professor of Network and System Administration, and originator of the globally used CFEngine software and founder of CFEngine AS, Inc. He is the author of many books and scientific publications, and is a frequent speaker at international more

Rating details

54 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
5 26% (14)
4 37% (20)
3 33% (18)
2 4% (2)
1 0% (0)
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