Re: Humans, Cyborgs, and Legacy systems

Mike Bishop (
11 Sep 1995 19:49:21 GMT

"\"Alexander \\\"Sasha\\\" Chislenko\"" <> wrote:
> Regardless of the intelligence of the developing process,
> there are only a few basic options here. Endless patching of
> aging systems is not the ultimate engineering method. The
> evolutionary role of a legacy system is to perform some
> necessary functions and test novel design ideas while better
> systems are being built from scratch elsewhere. After the new
> designs become fully operational, the legacy system is
> invariably placed into a trashbin. Or, if it is particularly
> good, healthy and lucky -- into a historical museum.

The overall goal in legacy system processing is to reengineer the
legacy system into a new form and environment to take advantage of
improvements in processes, methods and technology. Part of a
reengineering process involves reusing the parts of the legacy
system that are still useful. So, the entire legacy system isn't
thrown away, just the parts that can't be salvaged. And even those
parts served some purpose in that they were used during the reverse
engineering part of the reengineering process to determine what
functions the legacy system performed and how the system was designed.

The analogy between legacy systems and cyborgization described in the
above essay is quite appropriate. Much of this is being done today.
Doctors dissect the organs of deceased people to learn more about how
they work (reverse engineering). Based on this knowledge, artificial
organs can be created in some cases (the beginning of reengineering).
And we also see things such as plastic surgery, which can also be
considered to be a form of human reengineering.

> - Alexander Chislenko

| Mike Bishop | Why can they make a potato chip in one |
| Unisys | second, but it takes us months to develop |
| | software? -- Dilbert's boss |