July 09, 2003

MIT alt-i-lab Day One

Here’s a day one summary from Alt-i-lab. Also check Raymond’s blog.



Phil welcomes everyone to the Alt-i-lab.



Vijay describes what it took to get everyone to the Alt-i-lab.




Ed describes what the organizers hope we’ll accomplish during the meeting.




The panel discusses one of the standard criticisms of standards work.



Opening Session for Session Leaders

Phil Long (MIT). There are three big goals for the three days. What is the

1. State of the art in interoperability?
2. Interoperability forecast for the near future?
3. Alt-i-meter, i.e., how do we measure the dimensions of interoperability?

There are some things each group should do each day:

1. Designate a recorder
2. Get something written by the end of the day Thursday
3. Status of interoperability in current tools, systems, etc.
4. What should be addressed over the next 12 months to improve interoperability? (Near term). Exemplar products and services? We need real, measurable goals and not “20 years from now” types of punditing.
5. Measures / metrics / etc. of interoperability

Opening General Session

Vijay Kumar (MIT). 200 people have registered for this “small, invitation-only meeting.” There are a whole gob of people who provided support for the meeting. Nine co-hosts for the event, (ADL, OKI, IMS, OCLC, School Interoperability Framework, ATP, ALIC, European SchoolNet, eLearning Industry Group). Corporate sponsors are Blackboard, Sun, Giunti, MS Class Server, Thomson, HP, and Apple, WebCT. Special sponsors are Hewlett and Mellon. (Me - It’s amazing that a meeting thrown together so quickly, and at the last minute as this was, can garner such support.) The spirit of openness and open sharing should be pervasive throughout the three days we’re here and continue through our relationships afterward.

Ed Walker (IMS). What makes learning technologies interoperable? What constitutes interoperability? Explore the state of interoperability in the context of exemplars. What will/should happen in the next 12 – 18 months. Can we establish an actionable set of goals between then and now? There is also a huge need to communicate across projects, universities, projects, companies, etc. The meeting format will be: open discussion, hands-on demonstrations, and frank assessment of where we are and where we can be in 12 months.

Phil Long (MIT). “Altimeter” as a way of gauging where we are. We should develop a whole list of categories of types of interoperability (for example, “ability to play in diverse operating environments”), and metrics for each of these categories. A spider chart is one way of visualizing this concept.

Panel – Oh great, I was talking while they introduced themselves.

Great question from the floor: are interoperability and innovation incompatible? Response: It’s important to have some boundaries in order to get important work done. Art is an analogy – artists choose to restrict themselves to a medium and yet to cool things inside it. “Innovation run amok” has very limited scope or reach; the death of most academic projects is due to the lack of mechanism to share the work. (Me – I don’t think I buy this answer. Programmers choose to limit themselves to a medium (the computer) and yet do cool things inside it. Hmmmm.)

Posted by david at July 9, 2003 06:53 AM | TrackBack
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