Normally I don’t like to bandy about words like ‘cool’. It bespeaks narrative laziness. However, in this post I will purposely make an exception.
While at Platform, one of the coolest projects I worked on was one of curriculum development.
Working with a team of faculty, administrators and industry representatives, a curriculum was developed for the Michingan Jewish Institute’s (MJI) degree program in Cooperative Computing.
What is Cooperative Computing? We defined it this way:
Cooperative Computing is the facilitated interchange of information between willing participants for individual or mutual gain.
- Facilitated implies use of a enabling environment (e.g., .NET, J2EE, etc.), along with its associated data (e.g., XML with related standards and technologies) and programming models (e.g., C/C++, Java)
- Interchange emphasizes the (e.g., XML-)detailed interaction that is mediated via standards-based protocols and interfaces (e.g., SOAP plus Grid-enabled Web services)
- Information is the payload of the interchange – and note that it’s information purposely, instead of data. Why? Information is “data that has been interpreted, translated, or transformed to reveal the underlying meaning”. (Use of a lingua franca like XML ensures that this is the case.)
- Willingness implies that the interaction is agreed upon – in fact, it’s most likely negotiated
- Participants may be one or more people, but might also be other concrete entities (e.g., the environment) or even abstract entities (e.g., software and/or hardware components like agents, machines, robots, etc.)
- Gain conveys the individual and/or mutual benefit derived from the interaction – e.g., the provision of service, a step in a business process, etc.
Use of this definition was consistent with MJI’s desire to use Cooperative Computing as an umbrella that could encompass Grid Computing, Web Services, Service Oriented Architectures (SOAs), and so on.
Although the curriculum was laid out almost-exactly two years ago, it took MJI a little bit of time to do the real work of developing the content.
When I recently connected with marketing director Dov Stein, he indicated that the first cohort of students has almost completed the program.
If you open http://mji.edu/inside.asp?id=99929 and search for “Cooperative Computing” you can have a closer look at the curriculum. (Well, I said they were operating in stealth mode!)