The future is upon us - will we in IT be able to make the leap from 2 or 3 interacting systems to millions or billions of systems?
After seeing the Slashdot article "Diamond Age Approaching?", I started reminiscing about my college days and my eager desire to make a real difference in the world. In 1989, while studying toward my B.S. degree in physics, I happened upon a copy of K. Eric Drexler's "Engines of Creations". I spent a great deal of my free time researching Physics Review Letters to find anything that was at all relevant. I started to compile lists of graduate schools that were performing the most interesting research and I was getting really excited about the prospects. And then I had Dr. Know It All for solid state physics. Shaw's quip, "Those who can, do; those who cant, teach" was unfortunately so appropriate with this major pain-in-the-rear. Needless to say, the real world gently nudged me toward my long-time hobby: programming. Now, physics is the hobby and programming is the vocation.
I followed the Slashdot article to the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology's article Medical Benefits of Molecular Nanotechnology and started thinking about how current software development practices and software infrastructure could support this grand vision. It didn't take long to realize that we in the software development industry are significantly unprepared for this brave new world lurking just around the corner. Some in our industry have "seen" this future and are preparing themselves. Jim Waldo is one such visionary and addresses some of these issues in his Seventh Jini Community Meeting presentation, Challenges in Building an Infrastructure for Medical Sensing Networks.