We aim to define a standard set of concepts for systems theory which will incorporate the notions of system in such diverse fields as Shannon's communication theory, Luhmann's sociological systems theory, Coleman's Rational Choice social theory, biological systems theory, systems of subatomic particles, and computer operating systems and software systems.
We are particularly concerned with teleological systems, which are systems with a goal, corresponding to one of the binary classifiers in Parsons' social systems taxonomy, and the main interest of artifactual systems engineers. Our main interest is in the correctness and failure of such systems, as exemplified in the WBA and CSA projects.
Our aim is to distribute both platform and course work, and to be able to administer locally in Bielefeld courses based in other locations which use the platform.
Worksphere is in use in the RVS group, and in commercial use in a distance learning degree program of the Department of Health Studies at the University of Bielefeld. Further installations are planned in some Information Technology Training Colleges in Indonesia.
Worksphere installations may be commercially designed and maintained by the Bielefeld company Nothbaum GmbH.
We also participate in the m² project led by the University of Weimar, to develop an elearning degree course for New Media Art and Design (Mediengestaltung). Our Technical Informatics modules are part of the content of the M2 degree course.
For centuries, dates have been represented in shorthand in human endeavors. Two decimal digits have often represented the year in writing since the Renaissance. There are about to be failures of complex systems due to date representation discontinuities. On 21 August 1999 at 23:59:47, the GPS time data will `roll over' to zero; GPS systems without protection may think they are back at 5 January 1980 (`week 0'). On 1 Jan 2000, many software and hardware system components will `roll over' to 1.1.1900 (the so-called `millenium bug').
Many people, including some reknowned computer scientists, believe that the collection of Year 2000 problems are scientifically trivial. We believe strongly that this is not the case. There are surprisingly few conditions required for adequate data representation. Each one of these five conditions is violated by some instance of a Year 2000 problem. We describe these conditions, and what happens when they are violated, in the article The Analysis of Data Discontinuities.
We have also collected links to Year 2000 WWW sites by institutions and system vendors, and make available some essays by former Deloitte, Touche Global Year 2000 chief Martyn Thomas, as well as essays by ourselves