Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Engineer things using limits not averages 

Sean McGrath
averages are a very blunt instrument in engineering design. In engineering, averages are interesting and useful but we often need to go deeper. We need to know the limits - not the averages. What is the maximum system load? What is tha maximum document size? What is the maximum widgets-per-minute?

These are the key figures that drive the design of engineering solutions that really work rather than just work in the comfortable world of the average case. So the mantra is: explain things using averages, but engineer things using limits. The result will be (on average) better if you do.

Topics: Architecture | BestPractices

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