Talking head
RailsConf 2012

This presentation, by Zach Dennis, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0

This talk applies the concepts of chaos theory to software development using the Bak–Tang–Wiesenfeld sand pile model as the vehicle for exploration. The sand pile model, which is used to show how a complex system is attracted to living on the edge of chaos, will be used as a both a powerful metaphor and analogy for building software. Software, it turns out, has its own natural attraction to living in its own edge of chaos. In this talk, we'll explore what this means and entertain questions for what to do about it. The speaker's hypothesis is that by understanding how complex systems work we can gain insights to better understand and improve the act of building software. By looking through the lens of the sand pile model we'll explore the following: what the sand pile model can tell us about software development how software is naturally attracted to its own chaos the impacts on software living perpetually on the edge of chaos how existing software practices can be used to detract software away from chaos what this means not only for our software, but for our teams, and ourselves individually This thought-provoking perspective will leave you with new ways to think about software. You’ll walk away having learned a little about chaos, complexity, and how they apply to software with a thought-provoking perspective and inspiration for thinking about software in new ways.

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