Databases: Structured Associative Model

oraclesentences

For years now I have been struggling with Relational DBMS technology and Associative DBMS technology attempting to get them to do what I want.  In my first efforts, Relational models were structurally restrictive, Dimensional models were unable to grow organically, EAV models are incompatible with relational architecture.  I came upon Simon Williams Associative Model of Data and although enthralled with its potential I found it too had limitations.  It was semi-structured and allowed for too much flexibility.  25 years in Information Technology had taught me that there was a single standard classification system for setting up databases not a plethora of ontologies.  I was determined to find the theoretical structure and was not concerned with hardware limitations, database architecture, abilties of current query languages or any other constraints.

The Associative Model of Data had made the difference in liberating me from Relational and Dimensional thinking.  A traditional ERD of the Associative Model of Data I at first thought would look like the following:

amdschema

Basically what you have is a Schema composed of Nodes with Node Associations through Verbs and Associations with Nodes Attributions through Verbs. The range of Node Entities, Verb Entities, Association Entities and Attribution Entities are endless.  As well the population of the Schema has an unlimited dataset of natural key values.  I have been challenged by Relational database specialists and SQL experts regarding the viability of this model within current limitations, however their arguments are irrelevant.  What is important is the logical validity of the model, not the physical validity.

After receiving the criticism I decided to revisit the model in order to simplify it.  I went over Simon William’s explanations of his model and its application and found I could reduce it to the following:

amdschema02

This was profoundly simpler and better reflected the Associative Model of Data’s Architecture.  But even with this simpler architecture I was not satisfied.  I felt that the Associatve Model although giving the benefit of explicitly defining the associations was a tabula rasa.  Research has shown that tabula rasa’s are contrary to the behavior of the finite physical universe.  There is an intermediate level of nature and nuture.  And this is what I sought to model.

zachman

When I first encountered the Zachman Framework, something about it struck me in a very profound way.  I could see there was something fundamental in its description of systems, however I felt that the metaphors that John Zachman used were wrong because they themselves lacked a fundamental simplicity.  The consequences of this were that those who studied under Zachman ultimately could not agree on what he was talking about.  Also the “disciplines” that Zachman’s Framework generated were continually reinventing the wheel.  Zachman had created a world of vertical and horizontal stovepipes.  To further the confusion Zachman refused to conceive of a methodology based upon his framework.  Consequently, there was no way to determine what the priorities were in creating a system.  I call this the Zachman Clusterfuck.

Zachman’s work spawned years of work for me.  I could see that systems had a fundamental structure, but I could not agree with Zachman.  Focuses and Perspectives were useless terms.  The construction metaphor was useless.  I read anything I could get my hands on dealing with systems, methodologies, modeling, networks and a broad range of other literature across the disciplines.  Out of this came a set of conclusions:

  1. There were a fundamental set of Noun Entities
  2. There were a fundamental set of Verb Entities
  3. There were a fundamental set of Association Entities
  4. There was a clear order in which the Nouns were addressed
  5. There was a clear order in which the Verbs were executed
  6. The structure was fractal
  7. The content was a scale-free network

I made some attempts at creating the vocabulary and experimented with this new Structured Thinking Language.  However, the real break came when I worked with John Boyd’s OODA Loop:

theboydpyramid

The OODA Loop revealed a governing structure for the methodology and guided my way into the following hybrid relational/dimensional/associational model I call the Structured Associative Model of Data:

samd

One of the key things this model demonstrates is the sequence followed by the OODA Loop.  Starting from the top, each dimension set spawns the next.  Choices are created from the dimensions.  There is no centrism to this model which is an inherent flaw in Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), Event based architecture, Data centric architecture, Goal-Directed Design, Rule based systems among others.  The stove pipes of Focuses and Pespectives disappear by reasserting a clear order of priorities and dependencies for achieving success.  The model also supports bottom up inductive as well as top down deductive sequencing.  This will make the system able to reconfigure to handle exceptions.

Some of the things I have learned in designing this model include the realization that unit defines datatype and that all measures are variable character string text.  This is because any displayed value is only a symbolic representation of the actual quantity.  If operations are to be performed on measures they are converted to the correct type as part of the operation.  I also recognized that Unit was necessary to define the scale and scalability of the system.  Further, it became apparent that analog calculations should not be practiced.  Every value should be treated as discrete and aggregated.

Another aspect of this system is the inclusion of currency and amount.  I have been critical of Zachman and academics for their hypocrisy regarding the economics of systems.  All systems have a cost and a benefit and they are measurable in currency.  Contrary to the reasoning of the majority, every decision is ultimately economic.

Tim Brown of IDEO has coined the term “Design Thinking” and has been toying with the concept for some time.  Many designers dwell on the two dimensional concept of divergence and convergence as modes of thought.  If we look at my model, divergence is the creation of choice while convergence is selection of choice.  There is no alteration or deletion of choice in my model as history is preserved.

Now what you have is a unencumbered framework with a clear methodological sequence.

czerepakcognitary

Welcome to the Cognitary Universe.

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Cognitary Stratus

cognitary450

trivergent, divergent, univergent, convergent.

“History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.” –Mark Twain

Cognitary, Inc.

Triverges

to Found

foresought and fidel,

forethought and factual,

familiar and friendly,

fair and full

to Fiat

seer and leader,

feeler and finder,

giver and taker,

seller and buyer

Diverges

to Future

principle and power,

understanding and knowing,

safety and health,

prosperity and wealth

to Flow

vessel and berth,

heaven and earth,

table and hearth,

market and dearth

Univerges

to Function

designing and engineering,

plotting and navigating,

crafting and smithing,

profiting and possessing

to Form

goal and person,

event and location,

service and product,

price and metric

Converges

to Fashion

control and command,

climate and terrain,

training and discipline,

currency and commodity

to Foot

sanctity and dignity,

certainty and verity,

testity and pacity,

quality and quantity

The above outline is the evolving strategic framework of my company Cognitary, Inc.  I am working to build a community of generalists to tackle client problems across the disciplines.

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Design: Judean Framework and Czerepak Framework

judaismsymbol

Judaism’s “God’ Promise to Abram” is a thoroughly thought out system that addresses all the interrogatives. In this post I will give a brief elaboration of what I mean.

In my work with the Czerepak Framework I presented the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom and Fiat

Divergent Thinkng

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fruition and Fulfillment

Now, I am going to take the above structure and apply it to the Judean Framework, God’s Promise to Abram.  Let’s look at the passage as it is first:

Leave your country,
your people
and your father’s household
and go to the land I will show you
I will make you into a great nation
And I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and
You will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
And whoever curses you I will curse;
And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Now let’s reorder it according to the Czerepak Framework:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom

I will make you into a great nation

Fiat

I will make your name great

Divergent Thinking

Future

go to the land I will show you

Flow

Leave your country,
your people
your father’s household

Univergent Thinking

Function

I will bless you;
You will be a blessing.

Form

I will bless those who bless you,
And whoever curses you I will curse;

Convergent Thinking

Fruition

will be blessed through you

Fulfillment

all peoples on earth

As you can see, although there some minor variation in order, there is a very solid correlation with the Czerepak Framework as a whole.  Whether it was a man called Abram or a collection of person’s who composed this promise, it is obvious that it is a complete system framework.

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Design: Christian Framework and Czerepak Framework

maori_lords_prayer

Christianity’s “The Lord’s Prayer” is a thoroughly thought out system that addresses all the interrogatives. In this post I will give a brief elaboration of what I mean.

In my work with the Czerepak Framework I presented the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom and Fiat

Divergent Thinkng

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fruition and Fulfillment

Now, I am going to take the above structure and apply it to the Christian Framework, The Lord’s Prayer.  Let’s look at the passage first:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial
and deliver us from evil.

Now let’s order it according to the Czerepak Framework:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,

Fiat

your will be done,

Divergent Thinking

Future

on earth

Form

as in heaven.

Univergent Thinking

Function

Give us today our daily bread.

Form

Forgive us our sins
as we forgive those who sin against us.

Convergent Thinking

Fruition

Save us from the time of trial

Fulfillment

and deliver us from evil.

As you can see, although there some minor variation in order, there is a very solid correlation with the Czerepak Framework as a whole.  Whether it was a man called Jesus or a collection of person’s who composed this prayer, it is obvious that it is a complete system framework.

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Universe: History Rhymes

marktwain

In a Forum interview by Michael Krasny of NPR with Futurist Paul Saffo brought to my attention in a blog by Tim Brown of IDEO, Paul quotes Mark Twain who said, “History does not repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.”

My work on the Czerepak Framework is an effort to look back as far as possible to find the rhymes of the history of systems and out of it has come the following:

Trivergent Thinking

Freedom and Fiat

Divergent Thinking

Future and Flow

Univergent Thinking

Function and Form

Convergent Thinking

Fruition and Fulfillment

I have adopted the above process for my company, Cognitary, Inc.,  and call it “Cognitary Stratus”.  It is both a methodology and, when extended to additional dimensions, a framework for designing a system.

cognitarystratus

My usage of the root “verto” with the prefixes “tri-“, “di-“, “uni-” and “con-” are intended to create new terms to deal with a four dimensional perspective (not three) of systems.  The eight sub-forms of thinking correspond to the eight interrogatives:

  1. Why: Freedom
  2. Who: Fiat
  3. When: Future
  4. Where: Flow
  5. How: Function
  6. What: Form
  7. How Much: Fruition
  8. How Many: Fulfillment

These rhymes and sub-rhymes are the stratus of all systems and all systems design.  Together they are the basis of Cognitary Stratus.

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Universe: The Czerepak Framework

I just visited the archive of Tim Brown’s Design Thinking Blog and came across the following post:

Definitions of design thinking

Tim Brown » 07 September 2008 » In design thinking »

In my HBR article I gave a ‘definition’ of design thinking. It was:

Design thinking can be described as a discipline that uses the designer’s sensibility and methods to match people’s needs with what is technologically feasible and what a viable business strategy can convert into customer value and market opportunity.

On reflection this is a narrow description that focuses on design thinking’s role within business. The next sentence that I wrote.“….design thinking converts need into demand” , which I borrowed from Peter Drucker, broadens things out a bit but still assumes an economic motivation.

I am grappling with two questions as I think about this.

1. Is there a general definition of design thinking?

2. Is it useful to have one?

I think Tim has something very good here and suggest that the following would be a further breakdown of his classification:

  • Viable: Business
    • How Much: Quality
    • How Many: Quanitity
  • Feasible: Technology
    • What: Material
    • How: Process
  • Desirable: Human
    • Why: Goal
    • Who: People

Obviously, if you have been following my blog, you can see the same pattern appearing and reappearing as we explore other’s concepts.  The six interrogatives continue to reassert themselves.  However, I think I finally nailed one more aspect on the head.  I hate to say it, but it came to me in a dream about working on a programming project:

  • Reliable:
    • Where: Location
    • When: Timing

Quantity and Quality are two aspects of design/system thinking that are continually overlooked by academics and specialists, but not business people.

Interestingly enough this perspective is not new.  Clayton M. Christensen in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma discusses a four part model that fits nicely with this:

  1. Availability
  2. Compatibility
  3. Reliability
  4. Cost

I consider, Clayton’s the most empirical ordering.  Consequently, I would like to mesh Tim’s, Clayton’s and my perspective into the following:

  1. Feasibility: Technology
    1. How
    2. What
  2. Compatibility: Personality
    1. Why
    2. Who
  3. Availability: Market
    1. Where
    2. When
  4. Viability:  Business
    1. How Much
    2. How Many

Now, looking at this I am reminded of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Tipping Point, and it adds the following character to the model:

  1. Feasability: Mavin
    1. How: Processes
    2. What: Materials
  2. Compatibility: Connector
    1. Why: Goals
    2. Who: People
  3. Availability: Salesman
    1. Where: Locations
    2. When: Schedules
  4. Viability: Customer
    1. How Much: Costs
    2. How Many: Units

Universe: A Multi-Dimensional Medium

Let’s do a thought experiment.  I want to take design thinking and abstract it to a system.

doble-vortice

Imagine that there are no solids, liquids, gases or plasmas or particles.  That the Universe is a fluid medium swirling between equilibrium and non-equilibrium in multiple dimensions.  What we perceive to be solid, liquid, gas or plasma are not states, but intersections of dimensions that describe interdimensional vortices.  Energy is the intensity of a vortice.  Mass is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  Light is a vortice of a set of dimensions.  All of the particles are vortices of sets of dimensions.  Each influence the other based upon which dimensions they are composed of.

R. Buckminster Fuller clearly states in his work that we should perceive the systems as finite four dimensional spheres.

There are only four fundamental states:  vortice verge, vortice converge, vortice emerge, vortice diverge.

iconuniversestates1

Everything we perceive are combinations of these vortice states.  The states are +/- vortice yaw, +/- vortice pitch, +/- vortice roll.

If any vortice is spiraling toward you it is positive, if any vortice is spiraling away from you it is negative.  By definition, no vortice can be stationary with respect to you.

There are only eight fundamental vortices: How, What, Why, Who, When, Where, How Much, How Many.

This gives us the following eight vortice, four state table:

iconuniverse13

Take the time to look at the terms defining each of the white cells in the table.  Each row is the addition of a dimensional vortice.  For example: Each additional “when” vortice is another separate clock.  Each additional “where” vortice is another separate radius.  All of them are factors in a system or a design.

And even this representation is inaccurate.  If we consider fractal geometry and chaos theory, there are no points, no straight lines, no arcs, no planes, no circles, no polygons, no polyhedrons, no spheres, only vortices that are above, within or below our range of perception.  Space cannot be filled with any geometric shape.  Everything is composed of vortices–spirals.

We have to abandon the flat world, flat space models we currently cling to.  The world and the universe are not infinite planes.  The world is a finite island of non-equilibrium in a predominantly equilibrium universe.

And that is it, the Czerepak (Chair-eh-pak) Framework.

Copyright (c) 2008 Grant Czerepak.  All rights reserved.

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