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December 5, 2007

Triadic Continuum (Prologue)

One of the Vice Presidents that I work with sent me an email the other day with the subject line "Is this something we should be looking at?" He's no pointy-haired boss, but a subject line like that, followed by a cut and paste of an article from an industry magazine certainly does bring images from Dilbert to mind. As I read the article, those images only got stronger.

This particular article is about something called the triadic continuum - yes, sounds like something out of Star Trek, doesn't it? Still, it is interesting - especially if you have a PhD in cognitive science. There's a book about this invention that goes into more detail for those of you who are curious.

After a couple of back and forth comments in which I tried to look smarter than I am (and considering pitching the idea that if my boss wanted to send me back to school for my PhD that I'd be happy to go), this VP ended with: "But they said simple, scalable, universal." Yeah, right there on the package! ;)

My snide remark (being in a healthcare field) was going to be something like:

Right, and so is DNA!
Simple - only 5 compounds in the whole thing!!
Scalable - from a flee to a whale!!
Universal - it is a defining characteristic of life!!

I didn't send that response, yet.
DNA is simple, universal, and scalable, too.

You'll find Dan Linstedt blogging about the Triadic Continuum in the future, I'm sure. I'm still busy reading the book, but my gut tells me there are some very interesting things to be learned from this data structure. I don't think it's the solution to moving along Ackhoff's data-information-knowledge-wisdom curve, but I've already starting thinking about how to leverage some of the algorithms from the book in relational data models (even though that's what the inventors would discourage us from).

You'll see more from me in future posts as I try to decompose the ideas in the book and relate them back to the day-to-day information management challenges we all face.

Posted by Paul Boal at December 5, 2007 9:45 AM

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